No photos here, just a link to a 13 year old post I updated about some local lizard species which are called the same thing in Thai/Isan languages: กะปอม/กิ้งก่า), but ended up being distinct species with different common names: Oriental garden lizard (Calotes versicolor) vs. Calotes mystaceus (the Indo-Chinese forest lizard).
For the sake of posterity, I hereby shorten their names to Bob(s) and Dan(s). Bobs are the red ones, Dans are the blue ones (did you know that roughly 75% of people on social media would have used apostrophes to indicate plurality in that sentence?)
Update: Uh oh, there are Emmas (green when mating) in Thailand as well: Calotes emma
Further update: There are also some references to a species called Calotes goetzi which is treated as a separate species on some pages, but is also reported to have replaced Calotes mystaceus (who I just call Dan[s]) altogether according to this page, which also says that Dan is called กิ้งก่าหัวสีฟ้า (ging ga hua si faa) in Thai. This literally means the “gin ga (forest lizard) with a blue head,” which I immediately think is weird, because a much larger area than just the head turns blue, and also, every local I’ve ever talked to has just called it a “blue forest lizard” in Thai – there is no reason to be more specific, especially when it’s less accurate.
“We spent 6 months making GPT-4 safer and more aligned. GPT-4 is 82% less likely to respond to requests for disallowed content and 40% more likely to produce factual responses than GPT-3.5 on our internal evaluations.”
I asked ChatGPT if it could write the next line and it replied:
“These improvements have been made possible through a combination of rigorous testing, enhanced training data, and algorithmic updates that prioritize responsible language generation.”
Used as (possibly) my last prompt into NightCafe, it becomes:
Having lived and worked at a large company in Japan for over a decade, I got used to dealing with red tape, idiot bureaucracy, and daunting stacks of interoffice paperwork and documentation. When I moved to Thailand to live a “simpler” life, it never occurred to me that I might find a tangled mess of paperwork to rival that of any developed country. However, today I find myself in the crossfire of two separate government offices that simply cannot agree with each other and hope to silence the other by firing enormous salvos of paperwork at each other.
It seems like every other day I’m getting a new form from one office, demanding that I provide a detailed answer to every request, and then almost immediately afterwards another form from the other office, with significantly different and sometimes contradictory requests. I try to explain the situation and provide the correct answer, but it doesn’t seem to help.
I wonder how long it will take my students to figure out that they can use this for my online Public Speaking courses… I’ve already been asked to check papers written with ChatGPT, so this is just a natural progression. Still, I sometimes feel this year’s AI enthusiasm is just the evolved NFT fcukery of yesteryear.
One of my favorite Thai Indy bands, even though I only have one… Juijui took the iku iku iku / itai itai itai jokes of the pre K-pop peak to the next level; homeboy was basically a genius who could be very cringe, as my kids would say.
This one is pretty amazing for a guy who doesn’t seem to have studied Japanese very much.
The online software alternative they are offering is apparently not very good. Snap Camera was an only very slightly helpful but immensely entertaining webcam filter suite that helped pass many long online meetings and classes during the pandemic years, so I’m sad to see it go. I did use it less and less over time, however, and only installed it so that I could blur the background during FB Messenger video calls for PC during the holidays.
You may think you are cool… But you will be much cooler after you pour this in your ear and let it seep from your pores and permeate throughout your personal space.
I mean, until you hear homie singing and humming along to the bass line, you really haven’t lived. This is what he looks like:
Our storage room with all my Case Logic gear was flooded in October. So I’ve been going through the absolute mess made of my perfectly organized collection and listening to CDs for the first time in 20 years. There’s some real gems in there.
Describe an ancient order of 1337 ninja hackers and their sexy bot cohorts in the style of Neal Stephenson's epic novel, Snow Crash.
In the sprawling metropolis of Neo-Shibuya, an ancient order of 1337 ninja hackers has operated in the shadows for centuries. Known only as the Order of the Black Sun, these highly skilled operatives are rumored to have the ability to manipulate code and technology with superhuman prowess.
At the heart of the Order lies the enigmatic figure known only as the Snow Crash Ninja. With his flowing white robes and his trusted companion, a sexy battle bot named Akimi, the Snow Crash Ninja is the most feared and revered member of the Order.
With their mastery of technology and their centuries of experience, the members of the Order are a force to be reckoned with. They can infiltrate the most secure networks and steal the most sensitive data with ease, using their formidable hacking skills to wreak havoc on their enemies.
But the Order is not without its enemies. Rival hacker clans, corrupt corporations, and even the government itself all seek to bring down the Black Sun and its powerful leader, the Snow Crash Ninja.
Through it all, the Order remains a mysterious and powerful force, operating in the shadows and always one step ahead of those who seek to bring them down. The legend of the 1337 ninja hackers lives on, as they continue their never-ending battle for control of the digital world.
In the sprawling metropolis of Neo-Shibuya, an ancient order of 1337 ninja hackers has operated in the shadows for centuries. Known only as...
On October 5th, at around 2:00 o’clock in the afternoon, I wrote about how the whole country was flooding from heavy rains of the past week and how our neighborhood usually floods, but that this time the drainage systems in our area were working really well.
Later that evening, Nam and I gathered shovels and twine and started helping people from the neighborhood fill sandbags just down our street in an effort to block off rising waters from the rear of our estate, where there’s marshland on an open property. Our entire housing estate (which has expanded greatly since we built our house 13 years ago), was originally all rice fields and open land. Nam’s mom warned us that it was a low area that was prone to flooding, but the worst it ever flooded was just enough to wet our driveway and barely reach the house. </foreshadowing>
After an hour of filling sandbags and lifting them onto trucks, we were beat, and it was getting obvious that this flooding might get bad. Still, it didn’t seem too bad, but we decided to take Nam’s car to her mom’s dormitory on higher ground, about ten minutes away. On the way there, Nam asked if I wanted to turn around and get my car out of there as well, but it didn’t seem like it would flood so badly, so I said no, wondering if I was making the right decision. When we got to my mother in law’s place, Nam’s younger sister gave us a ride back home. The street in front of our house was slightly flooded, but no big deal. A couple hours later, it looked like this, which is the highest it had ever been.
Throughout the course of flooding, which was extremely bad but shorter than anticipated – in our neighborhood (they predicted our hood would be flooded for a month or two, but it was pretty much dry in less than a week – we never lost power, so I have chat logs all through out our time spent inside the house, even though we were completely surrounded by water. In fact the last message I sent out to the family on the night of the 5th was, “there’s no rain or wind, we have internet and aircon, but the water is silently rising. Weird.”
In the photo above, the water is only a couple inches high in our driveway, which is sloped towards the street. However, that means that the water is more than a foot deep in the street, which is high enough to bog down my car. It was too late to drive out of there without risking the Crown’s engine and blocking the road for trucks and lifted vehicles, so I pulled the battery cables, chocked the wheels, and pulled everything I could out of it… I didn’t have time to pull the amps or any of the audio system.
After I took that photo around 11:20 PM, the water started rising very fast. Unbeknownst to us, officials in Khon Kaen had decided to open flood gates to relieve pressure on the over capacity Ubolrat Dam, which in turn caused earthen holding walls to break at the nearby reservoir at Gang Lern Jaan. This caused a rush of water from streams and creeks that had never caused flooding in the recent past. The resulting flood was, in fact, the worst in 45 years. When the flood rose about another foot higher than shown in the photo, we decided it was time to bug out. We hurriedly gathered the most important stuff together, put Mina’s cat, Pickle, in a pet carrier, turned off the main house breaker, and ventured out into the dark waters in the driveway, where we waited for a truck to pass by (normal cars and motorcycles had completely stopped coming down the street hours before).
A black Vigo came by a couple minutes later, and the guy was happy to give us a ride out of there. We jumped in the open bed and stopped again just down the street when a couple of uni kids waded out in the street asking for a ride. As we drove down the street just down from our house, a couple yelled at us to slow down from the open window of their brightly-lit house, but it was too late. The wake created by our truck passing by in the flooded street crashed through their open front door (which was only a couple inches above the water line) and rushed into the living room, bouncing off the far wall and rippling back again. The woman sat on the couch and got splashed a bit and the guy went to close the door, much too late to accomplish anything. They both cursed as we passed by, a surreal memory burned in my mind, as adrenaline coursed through my veins. That pattern of adrenaline rush and subsequent dump would stay with me though the next few weeks.
UPDATE Dec. 1: It’s now been a couple weeks since I started writing this post. My words are all jammed up and I’m just… busy. Or maybe tired, as I never really spun down from the mad times that resulted from the flood. I have decided to write about it in installments, for fear of never publishing anything on this blog again… I’m hoping that publishing one post clears the logjam in my mind, so here goes…
VIDEO UPDATE: I’m adding this short video just to show the level of the water on the first night on our front stairs, which were the standard for gauging the severity of flooding throughout the following week.