We are Legion, or the Ts have already won.


To protect you and your fellow passengers, the XSA is required by law to steal your wife’s panties and confiscate your house keys so you can’t get in when you arrive home from your 26 hour flight at midnight inspect all checked baggage. Your bag was among those selected for physical inspection (possibly because it contained used women’s undergarments).

During the inspection, your bag and its contents may have been searched for prohibited or tantalizing items. At the completion of the inspection, many of the contents were returned to your bag (albeit not in the orderly or sensible fashion in which they were originally packed). Also, we forgot to completely zip up the outside pockets so that stuff was falling out of it when it reached the baggage carousel. In addition, we forgot to replace the suitcase straps… Our bad!

If the XSA officer was unable to open your bag for inspection because it was locked, the officer may have been forced to break the crappy die-cast metal locks meant to keep out petty thieves and perverts on your bag. Our bad! We routinely invest in million dollar x-ray porn machines, but can’t afford a bent paper clip! XSA sincerely regrets having to do this, however, XSA is not liable for damage to your locks resulting from this necessary security precaution (because if we wanted to be accountable for our actions, we wouldn’t work for the government!).

We appreciate your understanding and cooperation.

Stuck like a boss

Yes, I got stuck.

I arrived a bit late to the first wedding of two only to get trapped in the parking lot due to idiots who had parked every which way Undeterred, I squeezed through a couple of pickups to a promising dirt field that appeared to be damp, but solid. A couple feet into it, the car bogged down a bit, but not wanting to get stuck, I pushed forward… and got stuck further into the field.

Anyway, lemons into lemonade I say. This is what my car would look like slammed, with brown tires:



Eventually, a truck came and pulled our trusty Cefiro out of the muck, and I took it to get washed before Nam came home.

By the way, this is the semi-finished parking lot at the new wedding hall of Marin restaurant in Maha Sarakham.

Online again.

So I’ve been recovering for a month now. Wasn’t hurt too bad in the accident, but it flipped a switch in my head. Didn’t feel like blogging or writing or working at all, really. Of those three things, though, only one was really necessary so I did do a lot of extra work lecturing and speaking here and there.

As I type away on this dirty keyboard, it slowly feels like I’m coming back to a place of comfort. I was angry for a long time. Specifically, I was angry at the shop that almost killed me through negligent automobile repair. When I last wrote, I was waiting to hear back from them for a repair estimate for my car. All I thought about for three weeks was how I was going to get back at them – three weeks is a very long time for a devious mind to concoct intricate schemes. I even dreamed about it a few times, standing on a battlefield under a tattered flag, watching crows pick at the corpses of my slain enemies. Or standing in a courtroom at the moment of winning an all-or-nothing class action lawsuit, showered with applause from others who had shared similar experiences. Like I said, three weeks is a long time.

As it turns out, though, I may end up accepting the shop’s offer to pay for just half the damage, because the estimate ended up being about 10 to 20% of what we thought it would cost. The son at the shop ended up being cool about it and called in some favors at a body shop so we could get it done cheap. It’s still not ideal or just in my mind, but I’m willing to let it go now – it’s not enough money to stress about. Plus, I can leave it up to the shop to make sure shit gets done and not have to deal with details every day. And most importantly of all, karma’s a bitch. Motherfuckers who do bad shit get bad shit in return. That’s just the way it works. Believe that.


Just before I finished the restoration of my car I had somehow amassed a stable of three 100-150cc scooters. One cruiser, two two-stroke sport(ish) bikes. When I started parking my car in the garage again, I had to move them out and thought about what the hell to do with them. I moved them to temporary spaces around the outside of the house and covered them with tarps, using them about once a week on rotation to keep them maintained. So when I got in this accident, I was lucky enough to have transportation ready. I love old bikes, and two-stroke engines are awesome because they are so powerful and no longer produced. Pics to follow, sometime.

Crown build progress

Post-respray, aged trim parts removed for chroming


Cutting a new rear speaker shelf


Perhaps the original (40 year old!) rear speaker shelf, at some point apparently modified by an epileptic monkey with children's scissors


New interior door panels and glove box being fitted


A pump we found in the passenger-side door apparently for a Mercedes-style pneumatic door lock system. I've never heard of this being used on Crowns and doubt it is original, but as they say, Crowns are Japanese Benzos


The taillight frames were apparently very difficult to chrome because they are made from strange 1970's not-quite-metallic material

RMU Freshman Molam Performance

Taken (shakily, sorry!) at dinner gathering for the International Conference on Science and Social Science / International Conference on Science and Agricultural Technology held at Rajabhat Maha Sarakham University in Thailand.

Being MC for an event means you get the closest seat to the stage!

I announced that it’s common practice to tip the performers if you like them, and I think the girls and the band made out pretty well…

A Tribute to Buildings 1&2, Rajabhat Maha Sarakham University

They are knocking down our “Little House on the Prairie” schoolhouses and will soon replace them with new facilities. They were probably the oldest buildings on campus with solid wood construction, and were a lot cooler than the concrete buildings that have come to represent typical SE Asian construction… In recent years, some of the rooms had been upgraded with whiteboards and sound systems, but there was nothing like going into class every morning and asking students to clean the blackboard erasers.

They would knock the erasers on the outside wall below the window sills, which is how students coming in late could hear that class was starting. These classrooms were a pain to teach in on the hottest days, but were still more comfortable than their modern uncooled counterparts in our newest buildings (one of which is the tallest building in Sarakham yet boasts classrooms with no AC, broken desks, and in the ghettoiest rooms, blackboards as well).

Photo by Aj. Manoon; used with his sister's permission <-- SE Asian due diligence

These were mostly used as auxiliary classrooms and our English program will eventually move from our home in an old administration building (Building 4) to the new buildings whenever they are finished. Reversely, the prior occupants of Buildings 1&2 (including Thai Dance, Music, and Thai Language departments) have come to replace the Law department in our building, so instead of meeting aspiring ambulance chasers in our hallways, we are now serenaded by glorious band practice sessions and Thai dancing below the stairwells. We’re so used to it. it’s hardly even surreal anymore..

Landscaping Our House – Before and After

We are on summer break and not lacking for things to do, but decided that it was time to put some effort into redoing our front yard.




We have since learned a few things regarding landscaping rocks:

  1. Rocks are low-maintenance when done right
  2. Rocks are expensive
  3. Babies inexplicably like throwing rocks at nearby cars

Of course, the muppets we got to do the work decided to use plastic netting instead of plastic sheets (stating that only a few weeds could possibly grow though thick cover and could be controlled in other ways), so a couple weeks later, there are already thick beds of weeds growing out of control. I will probably have to do it right myself (big surprise), and eventually found out that the magic “other ways” alluded to above was spraying Roundup (on rocks my babies play with every day? I think not.).

Note: Row of sansevieria (aka mother-in-law’s tongue, devil’s tongue, jinn’s tongue, Bow String Hemp, snake plant) inspired by a relative from Kyushu


Our New Thai House entries:
Our New Thai House Part 1 – Picking a Plot
Our New Thai House Part 2 – Foundations
Our New Thai House Part 3 – Groundwork
Our New Thai House Part 4 – Roof and Walls
Our New Thai House Part 5 – The Blessing Way
Landscaping Our House – Before and After

Water Business

I thought some translator was having fun when I saw a reference to “JR East Water Business Company” on this photo of a vending machine employing a facial recognition system.

As it turns out, it was somebody in a higher position having fun with katakana English:

JR East Water Business Company

(Many Japanese literally translate mizushobai — hostess bars, kyabakura [cabaret clubs], sunakku [err, snacks], etc. — as “water business.” Japanerds seem to prefer the term “water trade.” Of course, there’s no reason to break down this particular word and the Japanese that do it usually do it to show that they know some English…)