We put in curtains (cream) and grass (green) today. It’s amazing how much more this house feels like home now.
As a side note, there’s a dirt track to the rear of our house where dump trucks come to drop fill dirt at the back end of the development. I took the Crown back there today to drop off 16 bags of black loam I bought (20 Baht/bag) to lay under the grass. After throwing the bags of loam over our fence, I got back in the car and did donuts and long drifts in the dirt all the way back to the paved road. All of the laborers working on various houses pumped their fists in the air and shouted Thai arribas. I’ve changed back to 15″ wheels because I didn’t have money to buy new tires for the 17″ rims and I got tired of changing flats every other day. I know, poor white collar me. Next thing you know I’ll be drilling holes in my muffler instead of getting it done properly.

Goodbye PHS

It seems that DoCoMo killed off the Personal Handyphone System service last week (Slashdot JP link). The PHS phones were attractive when we were students (specifically around 1995) because of the lower handset prices. Not being able to use one while traveling over 20kph (or was it 25?), however, was the main deal breaker. I remember when the newer generation phones with multiple antennas came out specifically to deal with this problem, but by then everyone who already had a cellular wasn’t about to switch.
As this guy says, there was a lot of potential in the system that was never realized, but hey, the road to Nashville is lined with superior specs and wasted potential. Or something.

15 Months no BT

Bittorrent, I’m back. I know you missed me.
But Demonoid’s gone! NOOOOOO! I was one of the few users to upload half a terabyte; I was going to use that ratio for the betterment of my arcane software collection! Oh, well. It would take fifty years to download half a T on this connection, anyway.

The Toyota Collection

Speaking of the Crown, Ive been meaning to post an original sales brochure for it that I found on this page (They’re restoring a Kujira Crown they found on e-Bay).
You really have to click on the photo to open the enlarged version and read the copy at the bottom; it’s pretty trippy (I’m relieved to see that mine has at least one of the options listed – seat belts!).

What comes straight out of a rarified atmosphere of true elegance and good breeding at 100mph, replete with luxury, power-steering, Cooler Air Conditioning, 8-track stereo and every creature comfort?
The Crown Special 2600 Automatic. A precious object for collectors only.
At 2303.44 recommended retail price, incPT (extra for seat belts and delivery) why should one pay more?
And there’s no answer to that.
Crown Special. One of The Toyota Collection.

hooked up

Got my DSL hookup at the new house – currently 256/128k or some such sadness, but it’s a lot better than nothing, and I’ll be upgrading to 1Mb/512k on Monday. I think I may even bother to bring the DL speed to 1.5M for another 110 Baht/month. Thinking about the hikari line I gave up in Japan sometimes makes me sad, but I find comfort in the Apocalypse coming and killing everybody with faster connections than me (most of the developed world).
As a side note, this morning at first I could not get the Crown into gear but somehow squeezed it into second while starting at the same time, and drove it all the way to a garage without depressing the clutch. I borrowed my sister in law’s new Chevy Aveo because we are getting the Cefiro resprayed (almost for free with 1st class insurance – we only pay 4,000 Baht). They replaced a clutch cylinder part on the Crown and I just picked it up – 600 Baht, all inclusive. I love Thailand.

More notes on emergence

Since quitting smoking is probably the most important decision I made this year, I might as well write about it some more.
Before I quit smoking, I was sure there were a few scenarios in which it would be near impossible to stand strong in the face of temptation after I quit. These situations included:

  1. A victory smoke while standing over the bloody corpses of my vanquished arch enemies
  2. Cognac in one hand, stogie in the other after a magnificent feast of roast swan and eel fingerlings
  3. During the time-honored tradition of smoking friends fucking with someone who’s trying to quit

Well, I haven’t vanquished anyone or eaten swan yet this year, but I did get fucked with pretty hard on Tuesday night. My pal Don called me out for a drink to a new bar about three minutes from the new house. The bartender had worked at the Sukhothai Hotel in Bangkok for 7 years and I went overboard playing cocktail trivia with her, ended up drinking nine drinks in 90 minutes. Went outside for some fresh air, forgetting that the front of non-smoking bars is strictly smoker territory. As mentioned above, I was fucked with.
“Here, just have one hit!”
“Just have one, you know you want it!”
“Here, can you hold this for me? I have to tie my shoe.”
Bastards. I deserved it, though, because I’ve done the exact same thing to friends trying to quit.
Funny thing is though, it wasn’t that hard. I had already stopped for about a week and I knew if I had one cigarette, it wouldn’t be just one, so… It wasn’t that hard.
What I am finding hard, though, is not smoking in my dreams. I try to resist the temptation in my dreams, but it’s just too hard. And it’s so realistic that I wake up feeling guilty and looking at my wife’s sleeping face to see if she noticed!
Maybe I should just enjoy it… Is smoking in the dream world bad for your health?

Slow Emergence

So I have a big confession to make: I quit smoking on New Years Day.
It’s been a week, a busy week to be sure.
Getting up the nerve to quit was a very difficult thing to do, because I enjoyed smoking so much. I was addicted to the act of smoking more than I was to the nicotine. I pretty much proved this by quitting cold turkey with a pack of nicotine gum in my pocket – I never used it, but it was there in case the nicotine withdrawals got in my way at work or something. The physiological effects that nicotine withdrawal had on me were extreme exhaustion and lethargy. It was like coming down from a 20-year stimulant high, or emerging from a pool of slow-setting epoxy. So of course, I chose this time to move into the new house – in between fugue bouts of narcolepsy, that is.
I figured I could distract myself by keeping busy packing and moving boxes, and it worked very well for the most part. I explained to Nam ahead of time that I might be irritable or go kind of crazy about little things (more so than usual, that is, so we were prepared when that stuff inevitably happened. I experienced an out-of-body rage when I found that a stone lantern I had stored at my housing developer’s office had been broken. I used to experience this level of rage all the time: When it happens, I can actually see myself going berserk and feel regret for what’s about to happen, but usually do not bother trying to stop myself. So anyway, I completely lost it when I saw a stone leg had been broken off and proceeded to smash the lantern into little tiny bits on the concrete outside the office as the secretaries inside looked on in horror. Rage issues, man. I proceeded back home where I sat down on a new couch and immediately fell asleep.
But, you know, other than that, it’s been easier than I thought it would be. I guess it all comes down to having a good reason to quit. I mean, you would figure that decreasing your chances of DYING EARLY would be a really stupendous reason to quit, but it just is not for most smokers. There usually has to be a more immediate motivation. For me, it is the baby. I knew this was coming from five months ago. I knew the baby was coming, I knew we were moving to a new house. I promised Nam I would quit before we moved, and New Years came up at around just the same time, so…
It’s kind of strange. I thought I would have to swear off coffee and alcohol for a while, but I’ve had both this week and they didn’t affect my cravings that much… I think everything’s OK as long as I’m within proximity of Nam and the baby. As long as I avoid solo trips to pool halls, strip clubs, and crack dens for a while, I think everything may turn out just fine.