The indelible BA in my head

It was somewhat of an unwelcome surprise to find out that part of my brain needs Mr. T. Watching his new show while making dinner, I kept telling myself how stupid it was the first 20 minutes, and ended up smiling when it finished… For what it’s worth, he’s actually a much better host than Tosh.

(awesome graphic via)

Snakehead in the Gutter

Last time it was a pla salid (Snakeskin Gourami).

No pics, but today we found a dead pla chon (common snakehead) in the pool of water that forms on the street to the side of our front yard. It was about 10 inches long, a great size to eat. In fact, I’m pretty sure it must have walked up from the pond (forty feet away) and died sometime yesterday during/after it rained, because it was in a place workers walk by all day and if it had been alive, they surely would have taken it home to eat. A snakehead makes a wonderful meal. A ten inch one could feed a couple averagely-hungry people (with rice, of course).

Max and Mina insisted I touch it and see if it was still alive (it was in water covering the lower half of its body, and still looked moist), so I prodded it with my foot and immediately saw that it was baked hard. I picked it up with thumb and forefinger, and red-speckled slime oozed from its mouth. Max told me to throw it in the pond, so I did.


We just got home from taking the stitches out of my head from the (3) wart excision last week, and after parking, saw that the pond was lit up by hundreds of fireflies. Almost all of them were green, but perhaps one percent were red or orange.

Yesterday, there were several groups of native ducks (small and unidentifiable – they hide in the reeds when not in flight) flying in to roost at dusk.

I love living in front of a pond.

A Salubrious Place to Live

This old article in the Atlantic is very interesting: 1492

Throughout eastern North America the open landscape seen by the first Europeans quickly filled in with forest. According to William Cronon, of the University of Wisconsin, later colonists began complaining about how hard it was to get around. (Eventually, of course, they stripped New England almost bare of trees.) When Europeans moved west, they were preceded by two waves: one of disease, the other of ecological disturbance. The former crested with fearsome rapidity; the latter sometimes took more than a century to quiet down. Far from destroying pristine wilderness, European settlers bloodily created it. By 1800 the hemisphere was chockablock with new wilderness. If “forest primeval” means a woodland unsullied by the human presence, William Denevan has written, there was much more of it in the late eighteenth century than in the early sixteenth.

Creating a home where the buffalo roam?

Insecticide Spraying in Rural Thailand

UPDATE: I’ve added a video to the bottom of this post.

The first time I saw government spraying (fogging, really) in our neighborhood was last year. There was the sound of a lawnmower engine from a block away, and then a man with a backpack sprayer walked by on the street, spraying a dense, white fog over our front yard, which promptly blew through our open windows ala a 1940’s public service announcement/DDT promotion. The cloying stench of RAID remained on the house for a couple hours, and I had to wipe everything down before the kids got back.

Today, we got a twenty minute warning by a pickup truck broadcasting over a PA – “We are spraying for mosquitoes in five minutes. Remove young children from the area!” I started the car, threw the kids in, and Nam drove them to their grandparent’s house in her nightgown. As they pulled out of the driveway, I could hear the backpack sprayer’s engine a few blocks down.

Since we live in what has become a fairly upper-class neighborhood (3 years ago, it was just our house and one other in the middle of fields), many parents are taking heed and evacuating as I write this. And I saw the sprayer go down a side street a few minutes ago, and he had no frolicking entourage ala South Korea. People are smart enough to take this seriously.

The question is, is it necessary? What the local government is most concerned about, of course, is mosquito-borne disease like malaria, dengue fever, West Nile virus, and any number of nasty strains of encephalitis. In fact, the last time we were in the children’s clinic, there were warnings about outbreaks of malaria and Japanese encephalitis somewhere in Maha Sarakham province (but not within 50 km of us). The short answer is, nobody knows for sure.


The sprayer came and went. It is over this year. I have some video I will post later, but both my camera batteries are dead right now. A small gecko just fell off the eaves onto the stairs to our pavilion. He was writhing around for a couple seconds, but now he just looks out of it. Maybe he ate a tainted mozzie.


crazy day

After having one of the busiest days in recent memory, I was chilling with the kids in our living room when I heard a bloodcurdling scream from outside the front of our house. By the time I hit the floodlight in the driveway, there was another — the kind you hear when someone’s getting attacked. We peeked through the curtains to see a mid 90’s pickup stopped in the street directly in front of our house. We couldn’t see though the truck’s windows, but saw people struggling on the far side of it, on the bank of the pond. Thinking that someone was about to get dumped, I rushed over to help, shirtless, with an ASP baton in my front pocket.

It turned out to be a married couple in their forties on the verge of throwing blows, but they both sort of calmed down to just yelling at each other after I asked them what was happening. They seemed to be arguing about money or something. The guy was gritting his teeth and kind of cocking back his arm, but gained control of himself as his wife continued with hysterics… I had memorized the license plate and was giving them space the whole time, just kind of watching from twenty feet or so. I noticed my next door neighbor watching from his balcony and the old man living behind us watching from the cover of our big Indian Jasmine tree… I knew I had witnesses, so that was cool. The wife was asking me to help, but I wasn’t going to get more involved at that point — there was no reason to step in their shit. Eventually, she pulled the keys from the ignition, chucked them in the thick vegetation surrounding the pond, and walked off. The husband was left there in the thick air, sulking and no doubt embarrassed about what had happened. He started pushing his truck to the side of the road, but I just wanted him the fuck outta there. Nam got a flashlight from the house so he could find his keys. He eventually found them and took off after hanging the flashlight over the side mirror of my motorcycle in the driveway and saying thanks.

Damn that was crazy.

A few weeks ago, my bathroom reading materials had dwindled down to the point of having to reread some old favorites. Then, while browsing a Thai-related forum, I spotted a banner for They are apparently a used bookstore on Koh Chang that have started selling online.

Long story short, they are my new go-to place for books here in Thailand. They accept PayPal or bank transfers and the prices are very reasonable considering the price of new English language books here.

They are currently running a “buy 3 get 1 free” promotion that I used for my first order. I paid via PayPal and quickly got an email from one of the staff stating that one of the books I’d ordered was out of stock… So when I had time, I chose another instead. Then, they hustled to get the delivery out before the long holiday starting the next day. In short, the service was excellent.

Now, to top it off, I’ve won two free books in their latest monthly competition! (I’m so sad I have so little time to read these days.)

In short, if you are living in Thailand and have a need for books, you should definitely try them out.