I plan on moving this site to another webhost this week, so there will be some downtime. I may also switch blogging platforms… Anyway, don’t be alarmed if we are down for a while, I have to do some gnarly things to start preparing for the move.
Nam called me up in a panic yesterday because she crossed paths with a snake in the yard of our house (in Thailand). She told me it was about a meter long and light green, and she asked what she should do so I said LEAVE IT ALONE, because all I could think of was:
Behold the awesome glory of the White-lipped Pitviper.
Of course, it might have been the Toothless Leaf-eating Snake of Northern Thailand, but I wasn’t about to ask her to see if its head was shaped like a diamond or not (and I’m sure Steve Irwin and Jeff Corwin would have agreed with that decision). Meanwhile, the snake decided to escape – up the storm drain of our house and onto the first story roof. Cool!
I told Nam to go get help, but just then a university kid happened to walk by, so he helped her somehow knock the snake off the roof and over the back wall into the adjoining forest. So all ended well, because I had heard before that Thais immediately kill any snakes that come near their homes, but Nam assures me that people in the Isaan region (where our house is) think it’s bad juju to wantonly kill shit, so they just try and get along with nature. That makes the Discovery Channeler in me so goddam happy to hear…
Thailand is not the best place for those squeamish about snakes and crawly things – a large portion of the cobra family (including the King Cobra), krait family (including the beautiful Red-headed Krait), as well as several kinds of waterbound and sea snakes can be found pretty much throughout the country.
What compels people to shun the world above ground, the sunlight, the weather, the outside? The unnatural lighting of the underground makes faces look sallow and haggard. Everybody’s eyes are just… dead. I began to think it would really be best for everyone if the city burned down once every 50 years, just so things could be started anew. Because the underground is undeniable proof that something is wrong, and wrong in a way that can never be fixed.
It’s like a magnet for insanity, as well. The jittery guy on the subway who everybody avoids because he’s nuzzling a grimy teddy bear and gets visibly spooked when approached – make no mistake, he was drawn here. The uncomfortable sheen of fluorescent lights, the raw and sudden clamor of disembarcation, and the sweet, lingering stench of beer vomit are familiar and comforting, companions in despair.
Mapion is my favorite map site for Japan because of its huge-resolution BB (broadband) maps and excellent GUI. I was on the site today looking up directions when I noticed a new feature – distance measurement! Basically, you plot a course on a map by drawings points with your cursor and the distance between each point as well as the total are calculated in a handy little table, which also shows estimated time and calories burned if you walk, jog, ride a bike, or drive the route you plotted.
For instance, this is what it would look like if you walked out of the men’s restroom of Jusco (Sumoto branch), crossed the parking lot, ran to the nearby Sumoto river, and walked over water to get to the nearest Mobil gas station:
(click to see full size)
Unfortunately, there’s no info for performing that last miracle – but remember, IT’S STILL IN BETA. Let’s see if Mapion can include that, plus wind resistance, blood-type factors, and gravitational pull of passing delivery vans in the next version, k? Until then, you can see just how long it takes to get from my corner (where the nearsighted old man and his wife attempt to hawk wilted cabbage to all who pass) to anywhere else in Japan…
I think this new feature will be damn useful for planning bank heists.
Real men wear haramaki (to literally hold their guts in if they get slashed).