I’ve been taken out of commission by some type of heat rash or allergy affecting my face and neck. I’ve assembled the finest team of witch doctors in the Northeastern Region, and am currently sticking dried gecko in my orifices to get rid of this affliction.
In the meantime, please enjoy my photo of a lung-shaped, rotting mango:

It was supposed to be a photo of just a lung-shaped mango, but I forgot about it for a week.

A quick note regarding comments

My shared server is sick, or my blogging software is messed up. It’s hard to tell, because my “country road” DSL connection is so spotty. In any case, what this means for you, loyal reader, is that comments may seem like they aren’t going through. Most of the time, however, they are. If you want to make sure your comment went through even though it’s seemed to have timed out, go ahead and hit the back button on your browser and try posting it again. I’ll clean up any double-posted comments for you afterwards. Sorry for this inefficient way of doing things, but it won’t last forever.

Recent Observations

I just saw a big house gecko bite another on the neck, and it wouldn’t let go. Finally the one being bitten managed to escape, but the big one chased it all the way across the wall. I wonder what that was all about; it’s not like there’s a shortage of bugs to eat around here or anything.
For the English camp, we stayed at a campground in a nature preserve, up in the mountains. We stayed in bungalows maintained by the forest rangers, who wore tigerstripe and treebark camouflage, and watched over the entire preserve with high-power binoculars. Once a day or so, they would hear a message on the two way or see possible poaching activity, after which a couple of them would fetch long arms and jump in the back of a pickup to go investigate. I saw an AR-type rifle, a sawed-off pump shottie, and an FN-FAL. On the last day, a colleague said he could hear shooting out in the woods after we saw a group of them take off to investigate.
Today I bought an old motor scooter for 1,000 baht from a Japanese girl going back to Japan. It has a dubious history, no license plates, and no registration. It also has a Finding Nemo theme airbrushed all over the cowling (which itself is metallic gold). Steady pimpin’, yo. Oh, also, this is the second used scooter in a month I bought for exactly 1,000 baht from a Japanese girl leaving Sarakham. Strange coincidence. Even stranger, there is a distinct possibility that there may be a third soon. More on this later.
Yesterday, Nam bought a fresh pack of durian at a night market we visited. Although I was worried about carrying it in my car, I figured what the hell since she loves the King of Fruits so much and we were only five minutes from home… Oops. Even though I bought two huge garlands of fresh-cut jasmine and left them in my car overnight in addition to a new car deodorizer thingie, this morning, the hot interior of my car smelled unmistakably durianesque. I set the aircon to vent, drove to work with all the windows open, and managed to get rid of most the smell. So. I came back from work in the afternoon and got a call from a student who just came back from working at a candle factory in Rayong (you should read that link, I was inspired when writing it). He had a present for me, he said. Can you guess what it was?
That’s right, after all that defunktifying in the morning, I had another very ripe durian in my car, and this time in the scorching afternoon sun! The worst part is, I had several errands to run (like getting an alignment at a garage on the other side of town) and couldn’t take it home right away… I fear my car will never smell of leather again. At least Nam seems to dig it, though.

Pimp My Ride with Borat

I haven’t decided whether Borat is retarded or brilliant yet – I think that’s what’s considered cutting edge these days, though. Speaking of pimping rides, I left my car in the shop for some dampening work and to be fit with a custom sub box since I had a nice mix of audio parts I brought from Japan. Pics to follow.

Thailand is too hot for campfires

I’ve just come back from an “English camp” where I taught elementary school kids at a summer camp with a couple of colleagues. It was fun, but totally sapping in the 100 degree weather. It was nice to be in the green mountains after living on the dusty plains for so long… Man, it was so hot at times, I could have roasted marshmallows in my pocket!
Speaking of heat, there was a fire at MBK center. MBK is great because they have so many unique shops crammed into all the space, which is also why it would suck to be there in a fire. In fact, whenever I’m there, my eyes are constantly searching for the stairways and when I’m weaving around all the groups of people, I’m thinking about how many would die from smoke inhalation versus how many would be trampled if there was a fire. I’m just strange that way.
Speaking of strange, this is perhaps the strangest and coolest link I’ve seen since being back in front of a pc after my four day break: Enjoy!

Mangosteens and Rambutans

…are in season!

They sell for around 40 cents per pound each at the market; this is apparently a good year.

Probably my favorite fruit in the world. In fact, I can’t think of a close second.

Such an alien-looking fruit. Delicious, though.

Fr007 pr0n!
Bonus trivia (via Wikipedia):

  • The mangosteen is known as the “Queen of Fruits” in Asia. (The “King of Fruits” is the durian. If the king and queen ever bear children, I’ll be the first in line to eat them.)
  • The exocarp (purple outer layer) of the mangosteen is rich in both nutrients and antioxidants, however, this is generally not the edible part. The inner white fruit is known as the aril and seems to contain, well, uh, delicious juices that aren’t proven to be beneficial in any way, thus proving that anything that’s really healthy for you probably doesn’t taste very good.
  • “There is a story, possibly apocryphal, about Queen Victoria offering a cash reward to anyone who could deliver to her the fabled fruit (mangosteen).”
  • Thailand is now the world’s largest producer of rambutans.
  • Rambutan seeds are poisonous to humans.

Thai Kidnapping Gangs

If you have about 45 free minutes and any interest in kidnapping gangs operating in Thailand at all, you must see this post over at American Rescued After Being Kidnapped, Kidnappers included Thai Police
Go through the entire thread and download the supplemental documents linked there by a previous victim – it’s unbelievable.
Major props to Thai Visa forums, I get a lot of info there and they deserve credit for providing such a valuable resource.

MP3 downloads

Somebody asked me where to download music without using file sharing software. Without a doubt, the best search tool is here: Music Search Plus
Here’s what I’m starting my day with today:

I remember most of my CDs by their jacket art and the color of the disc. Even if I can’t remember the track names or album name, I can remember what it looks like. Also, I can generally remember what it sounds like in my room, in my car, and through a set of headphones.

My first speeding ticket in Thailand

So the short version of this story goes:

  1. Today I got caught speeding 50kph over the (unposted) speed limit
  2. I paid a fine on the spot and was released
  3. I love Thailand!

I have this running joke with people who ride in my car and ask what the funny device attached to my windshield is – “It’s a 7-11 detector,” I always say (I’ve NEVER seen another radar detector in Thailand, so their curiosity is understandable). Sure enough, it starts beeping madly whenever we pass a convenience store (or anywhere else with automatic door sensors), so this explanation may be less facetious than it sounds (then again, maybe not). Well as it turns out, it might as well have been a “7-11 detector” today when it started beeping wildly while I was driving on a flat stretch of highway between towns.
The beeping surprised the hell out of me, because all around, there was nothing but typical Isan scenery: A few trees, rice fields as far as the eye could see, a couple of skinny cows, and the tall spire of a temple half a kilo down the road. I consciously noticed that I had become desensitized to the sound of my radar detector – I didn’t brake and instead just let off the gas a bit, convinced that it had picked up on an errant signal sent from the cosmos, or perhaps a stray radar wave bouncing off the dusty Thai ionosphere. The last thing, the absolute last thing I thought it could be was a speed trap, so you pretty much see where this story is going.
The men in brown were waiting for me a kilometer down the road. Luckily, Nam was in the car with me and she took care of the whole thing. they wanted me to pull over and wait to be processed. They wanted my driver’s license. They wanted to know if I knew I had been driving at least 130kph. When all was said and done, they wanted to get paid. My fine for speeding 50kph over the limit?
200 baht.
That’s like, six bucks.
In Japan, I’d instantly have my license revoked and be fined thousands of dollars, plus maybe get a free night’s stay in traffic jail.
Like I’ve said before, some things are just really cheap out here in the sticks. The funny thing is, we actually paid more than normal (for around here, at least, in Bangkok, etc., it’s a lot different), because this was a special traffic safety crackdown taking place to reduce accidents for the Songkran holiday period, which starts tomorrow.
I love Thailand.

Random links for April 11, 2007

Thanks to the Internet, I now know that the pee shivers are (possibly) officially known as post-micturition convulsion syndrome.
How many incorrect stereotypes can you spot in this photo? Better yet, which ones are intentional, and which ones show just how ignorant the creators are?
A sea lion eating a shark
Christ almighty, that’s a huge rockfish! (and a century old…)
Hey, look: A published magazine illegally using and actually watermarking my brother’s photographs! Sue those bitches, Adam! (and yes, people think that the thieves are the creators. Hell, they even think so in Thailand!) This is obviously a bigger sin than, say, incorrect attribution.
Have a nice day.

Ctrl + F5 are friends…

So this is the theme I have chosen after trying out 30+. I am, unfortunately, too lazy to write my own all over again. If you are having trouble loading this page or the design looks funny, hold down the Ctrl key on your keyboard while pressing F5.
Note: After the upgrade, I noticed that the search function of this blog times out quite a bit. I’ll iron out the bugs eventually. In the meantime, if your search for “naked fat men” times out, hit the back button on your browser and try again.

time for a new look

Having tackled core software issues, it’s time to work on our design. I’m having a great time screwing around with different themes, and I hope Adam does, too (sorry dude, I hosed your previous theme when I overwrote the MT directory).
It might be, um… colorful around here for awhile, until we decide on our designs.