Random Marine Biology Update

Sometimes I get jealous of my little bro and sis working at the Monterey Bay Aquarium – how cool is that? – and just want to join in on the rampant fish nerdicalism they must be enjoying every day. So here are my suggestions for water cooler/lunch table/apres ski chat today, guys:

This is me, holding my tongue

You know, it really shouldn’t be illegal to shoot a certain number of in-laws in one’s lifetime, say three or so. At the very least, dueling (between in-laws) should be brought back on a trial basis.
That is all.
On second thought, it sucks to end on such a hopeful note, so here’s a photo of a plate of delicious bugs that a gardener gathered from our backyard forest and asked if I wanted to share for lunch:

Don’t mistake the ant eggs for grains of rice. Homeboy must have dug up an ant colony, among other things – Nam poked around it with a twig and a small dead frog emerged.

Front and center is a queen, I believe. To the left, a soldier tugs on a dead beetle thing. That’s as much as I’ll attempt with identification…. Mm-mmm!

These red ants grow to about half an inch long and when they bite, you can FEEL the pincers sinking in… When they crawl up your pant leg, it’s frantic monkey dance time.
Oh, as an afterthought I might as well admit that this fine meal was just…. too goddamn disgusting to try, even for me.

Tainted by Marriage (Thai Government Bank Discrimination)

Okay, I have a really fucked up situation that needs airing, even if the country in which I am currently residing isn’t being ruled by an elected government and the province we live in is still officially under martial law. I thought long and hard on the porcelain about how to state this and I’ve decided to do it quick and dirty, without being too specific.
Last Friday, Nam went to a government bank to apply for a housing loan (we be moving soon, but that’s another story/rant). The president of this bank refused her application on the grounds that she is – wait for it now – married to a foreigner!
Oh, man, that just blew our minds…. We made sure several times, and he came back with the same answer unwaveringly: Thai nationals who are married to foreigners cannot borrow from their bank because they are also considered foreigners. So to be clear: My wife, who went to the pains of getting seriously educated overseas, incurring huge student loans in the process (which are being paid back now with long years of underpaid university work), and who is dedicated to giving back to the system isn’t eligible for a (relatively modest) housing loan because her husband is a foreigner.
So we thought, maybe, you know, this being a rural bank and all that, maybe Mr. Hillbilly Goatfucker bank president just got his wires crossed and was saying some xenophobic shit and refusing to even consider Nam’s loan application – which I understand is his right, but I also know is shit we can call him on, you know? So Nam called up the main bank in Bangkok and guess what? What we ran into isn’t discrimination on the part of our local branch, it’s actual Thai government policy.
Well, fuck me very much.
Not really much else to say, except, hey, if they don’t want our money, any number of private banks are happy to serve us (and take our money).

On the Road 2007 (Part 2)

On a typical road trip, the driver is the big man who calls the shots and ultimately determines whether one arrives safely or stuck in a ditch. The navigator’s main responsibilities include reading maps, changing music, spotting promising meal venues/interesting sights, and taking photos from shotgun position. All of the photos below were taken at high speed (both car and shutter) and the variation in sky color can be attributed to three factors:

  1. Ever-changing weather conditions the week of our trip
  2. Whether the shot was taken through an open or closed side window, or our polarized windshield (BTW, having a tinted windshield is totally awesome because until now I’ve only owned cars in places where it’s both illegal and enforced)
  3. My unwillingness to match them in Photoshop (read: laziness)


The only Ford tractor we saw in a 1,000km stretch of farmland. It’s sitting next to a patch of newly-planted papaya trees.

This is the kind of truck that I wish could tell its life story..

This is one of the largest stores selling cast concrete lawn animals/spirit houses/earthenware planters I have ever seen (there are countless stores like this on the roadside).

Taken unaimed out the window @ 160kph.

The only petrol station selling “high octane” gas in three counties. We stopped at a whole bunch of others before we found it, so I stretched my legs and took some photos.

The first “goat crossing” sign I’d ever seen.
All links for the On the Road 2007 series:
On the Road 2007 (Part 1)
On the Road 2007 (Part 2)
On the Road 2007 (Part 3) – Koh Chang
On the Road 2007 (Part 4) – Overloaded
On the Road 2007 (Part 5) – Tamnanpar
On the Road 2007 (Part 6) – The Animatronic Chicken Roasters of Rayong, Thailand

Yoshimoto Entertainment in Thailand

This time we’re off to see Yoshimoto perform in Bangkok at the Imperial Park Queens Hotel. The organizer is an old friend of Nam’s and he came to our wedding last year. We are using our Thai Air mileage for the flight out from Khon Kaen; we need to return on Sunday but all the flights are full. We need to get back to the airport since we’re leaving our car in a pay lot (50 Baht/day) right next to it… Maybe take a Nakhonchai Air VIP bus (curiously, Nakhonchai Air doesn’t have any air transportation – just buses and vans).
Unfortunately, our friends High Heel Momoko and Kuro-chan do not seem to be coming.

On the Road 2007 (Part 1)

Ten days ago, we set off on a road trip.

The rainy season had not yet really started, but it was giving us a nice preview. Wherever we went, the fields were green.

The basic idea of any successful road trip is that you just go where the road takes you. On the first day, it led us to the muddy back roads of a garish temple erected by one of the largest Buddhist sects in Thailand. The temple interested me much less than the hidden pond guarded by water buffalo and spirit houses just off the temple grounds.

Although the main sanctuary was in good condition, the surrounding buildings left much to be desired – such as walls.

The crematorium was in rough shape, too.

Finding a lost shoe always sets my mind to thinking about its story. I’m pretty sure this baby flip flop was abandoned by its parents at the temple because they couldn’t afford to feed it.

This was just our first stop on a long journey.

All links for the On the Road 2007 series:
On the Road 2007 (Part 1)
On the Road 2007 (Part 2)
On the Road 2007 (Part 3) – Koh Chang
On the Road 2007 (Part 4) – Overloaded
On the Road 2007 (Part 5) – Tamnanpar
On the Road 2007 (Part 6) – The Animatronic Chicken Roasters of Rayong, Thailand

momentous – 999999999

This was the entire point of that other post.
Some might wonder why I choose to commemorate 99999 999.9 instead of 100000 000.0. Well, I can’t really explain it; that’s just not how it’s done – we follows the little voice in our headses and it leads us on grand adventures… Right, Preeeciousss?
What a grand occasion this is.
In honor of this momentous accomplishment, Nam and I have decided to go on a road trip from tomorrow. Where we go shall not be decided beforehand. We will pack for a few days, hop in the car, and see where the road takes us.
Be back soon!

Studio Six Productions

The title says it all: How the CIA used a fake science fiction film to sneak six Americans out of revolutionary Iran
That’s the best Wired article I’ve read in ages.
It’s hard to believe that my all-time favorite Wired article is already over ten years old: Mother Earth Mother Board
It’s by Neal Stephenson, who’s one of my favorite authors (even though I can’t get through his post-Cryptonomicon works). His other articles for Wired are great, too: LINK


1. The sunset we saw a few days ago standing on our balcony at our house out in the sticks

2. The hot pizza (double pepperoni / tom yum) that I ordered online and was delivered in the pouring rain to our house out in the sticks. That’s the definition of a killer online app! I would have given the guy a bigger tip if he’d delivered it on a water buffalo, though.
I have some updates about the little girl, but I don’t feel like writing about it just yet. Her parents sure are creeps, though.


I totally just smoked this guy who wanted to race, on the way home. I’ve been a really good boy and not given into temptation until today, but this guy was a total asshole and cut me off. He was in a fast VW hatchback, so I gave him the lead for a while and let him eat my xenons. Then I passed him in the outside lane and that was that, because there was no way he could keep up. Not much to it, but it felt really good. This sleeper car of mine has earned its stripes. Someone has contacted me with an offer to install a custom Y-pipe without the 2 pre-cats I have on the stock system now. Don’t need it, though. It felt really good to smoke that guy; brought back the way I used to feel driving the Silvia at night on the coastal highway back home.

Note to self: Don’t race with wife in car. It still upsets her for some reason.