git up a git git down 911 119 191 is a joke in yo town

It made so much sense when I found out in Japan that the number for the popo fire department was 119, because like so many other aspects of Japanese culture, it was the exact opposite of what I was used to. Namely, 911. But it is kind of strange that Thailand has taken the only unique left in that series and dubbed 191 the number for emergency services countrywide.
So the real question is, why don’t they standardize the number for emergency services worldwide?
Flava Flav says “Ho!”

Matthew Santos for President

Previously in this series: David Palmer for President

“For what those West Wing fans stunned by the similarity between the fictitious Matthew Santos and the real-life Barack Obama have not known is that the resemblance is no coincidence. When the West Wing scriptwriters first devised their fictitious presidential candidate in the late summer of 2004, they modelled him in part on a young Illinois politician – not yet even a US senator – by the name of Barack Obama.”

See the full article here: LINK
All I know is that John McCain ain’t no Arnie Vinick.

White Tribble

Cosmically sublime.
My older cousin, Susumu, sat next to one of the members of Jefferson Airplane (don’t remember which one – sure as hell wasn’t Grace Slick, but there were many members over the lifespan of the band) on a plane ride from LAX to Osaka back in the 90’s. He said something to the effect that it was cool talking to someone who was so famous when he grew up.
Myself, I’d rather sit on a plane for twelve hours with Don McLean and have a chat about his greatest hit so someone could finally give this guy some closure.


On ebay:
The World’s Greatest Music Collection
3 Million Records, 300,000 CDs, 6 million+ Song Titles

“Every recording in the collection was purchased by the collection’s owner over the past fifty years and represents a lifetime of work and his desire to see the music preserved for future generations. Advancing age and health concerns are forcing the owner to sell…
The new owner of this magnificent collection will also acquire (1) the rights to Spin-Clean, the owner’s patented vinyl record cleaning system, considered the best on the market by audiophiles the world over, (2) the rights to Discmist CD cleaner, (3) CD Saver 2-part archival CD storage sleeves, (4)Yellow Jacket 45 RPM acid-free archival storage sleeves, (5) ownership of the owner’s six publishing companies and eight independent record labels, and (7) more than $100,000 worth of antique recording and listening devices and other music memorabilia currently on loan to a museum.”

This collection would totally look good in my room.

Intestinal Flora, The Importance of

Clive Thompson (the Giant Squid Overlord) has just put up a very interesting post: Why C-section births might cause eczema in babies
Now, in the midst of making some very important choices about how our boya is going to be born, this type of information is key in confirming our choice in a natural birth, if at all possible. We know that the C-section is a valuable tool, indeed a life-saving one as proven time and time again, but the reasons we have heard for having one out of want instead of need recently really cause some concern.
Some women who have had them (numerous times in some cases) claim that it’s the only way to go, because it’s relatively painless and easy. Holy crap, does that reasoning worry me. Some women have advised Nam to have one because of vaginally expansive reasons, which I will not get into in detail, but suffice to say that said women are afraid I will leave my wife if she has a natural childbirth… And some have just been brainwashed by a booming medical business that states that Caesarians are safer and less stressful on the infant and mother – never mind that that stress might be the entire point of natural childbirth.
On a flip note, if you read the article linked from Clive’s post you probably came across the reference to Lund University in Sweden. I’ve been there, and it’s the only place in the world where my eczema acted up besides Japan, for the exact same reason it acted up in Japan – the extremely dry winter conditions.

Climbing Motorcycle Show @ Red Cross Fair

What is the Red Cross Fair?
Every year in February, for Chinese New Years, the downtown area of Mahasarakham (Maha Sarakham) around the clock tower is swarmed by vendors and street sellers of every kind of unsanitary food and useless street fair item imaginable. Entire avenues are blocked off for a few weeks, both officially, with rolling steel roadblocks, and unofficially, with sheer human mass. This is the Northeast Thai version of Carnival, sans dancing or fucking in the street, since that would take entirely too much energy (this is the tropics, after all). Somewhere at the center of activity is the real fairground area complete with rickety-ass fair rides of death, rigged game booths, sideshows with brightly illustrated signs ten times more interesting than what’s inside, and even more of the same unsanitary food stalls and useless crap-sellers. In a word, heaven. But to be a bit more honest, it’s just like a fair back home after all is said and done. Except for the motorcycle show.
I saw the “climbing motorcycle show” last year and regretted not having a video camera at the time. The rider was the craziest guy I’ve ever seen, pulling stunts I’d never even imagined. I won’t even try to describe them. Suffice to say, they were some of the most amazing riding tricks I’ve ever seen – in person, on TV, on the net, EVER.
When the Red Cross fair rolled around this year, I knew I had to get it on film. Unfortunately, it seems that they’ve cleaned the show up a bit; it didn’t have the same impact it had last year, and the rider was different this year. It’s of course possible that it was just his day off, but I prefer to believe that he died in a blaze of glory, trying to pull an inverted somersault while doing his stuff.
They’ve added a car to the show (a Nissan NV) this year and have given the children active roles in it. This is pure hubris, and one can only hope the gods turn a blind eye. Anyhow, without further ado:

2nd Anniversary Dinner (at home)

From 12 o’ clock, clockwise:

  • Samoo – A special delicacy of ground pork and a whole bunch of special herbs, from the Ubon area. Nam’s mom made a pot of it for us a few days ago, and she’s the only person we know who can make it.
  • Sukiyaki-sliced beef we found at the local Tesco. I fried it in butter/sesame oil with garlic and sprinkled with coarse ground salt, pepper, and kaffir lime.
  • Deep fried tabtim (hybrid tilapia, pink/orange in color). They fry these (and any other fish) up for you at Tesco.
  • Tom Ka Gai, spicy/sour chicken soup with coconut milk
  • Thai version of a mixed salad with local tubers, pumpkin, and fresh tomatoes

(Thanks to everyone who wrote congratulations – we miss you all!)


Earth, sky, sea, and rain
Is she coming back again?
Men of straw sneak a whore
Words that build or destroy
Dirt, dry, bone, sand, and stone
Barbed-wire fence cut me down
I’d like to be around
In a spiral staircase
To the higher ground
And I, like a firework, explode
Roman candle lightning lights up the sky
In the cracked streets trampled under foot
I see you stare…into space
Have I got closer now?
Behind the face
Oh…tell me…
Charity dance with me
Turn me around tonight
Up though a spiral staircase
To the higher ground
Slide show, sea side town
Above is a partial view from the front of our new house. The view was a major reason why I wanted to build a house here in the first place. If you look closely, you can see the top of my university’s administration building (it’s a kilo or two away in a straight line, unfortunately, there is no road running straight there):
Since you can see that building from my house, the reverse is also true, of course, and when this house was being built, I used to take my camera and a zoom lens up to the roof in between or after the Master’s classes I taught there. I would take photos of the workers dumping trash in the pond or peeing in my backyard and go confront the foreman with it later, saving the photographic evidence for when he swore in front of the developers that nobody would dare do such things (yeah, I’m pretty much the client from hell).
That roof was also my bug-out area when I needed a smoke or wanted somewhere to relax for a few minutes. The door to the roof was always open and it was often the coolest part of the building with constant breezes, even on the hottest days. You could look over the waist-high wall surrounding the perimeter of the roof onto the parking lot, which was green with all the old trees that make my university so nice to walk around, and the people and cars looked like miniature toys scattered across the floor… The nicest part about going up to the roof was that you were pretty much guaranteed your privacy. I went up there at least a couple times a week for six months, and saw maybe four other people in that time.
It’s funny what kind of thoughts go through your head when you’re looking at people you may or may not know from 16 stories up. I know what I always think of. But there’s a big difference between wondering what it would be like and actually stepping off…
Yesterday, one of our seniors jumped off the roof of the administration building and died. What this boy was thinking, I have no idea. The chances are, I don’t even know who he is.
But it still makes me sad thinking about it.

layout, hosed.

I have no idea why Sixapart (who make my blog software) and Dreamhost (my webhost) are so intent on screwing with me in collusion, nor why it’s so hard to implement a simple blogroll in MT 4, but I do know that I managed to lose my sidebars – no search, no archives, no recent photos, no (unused) tag cloud space… and even though it’s unintentional, I’m kinda digging this minimalist design. I might stick with it for a while.
My e-mail is above (at the top of my main blog page); shoot me a message if you need to find an entry in the archives (e.g., “sunrise tacos”) and don’t know how to use google with a filter for this site only.

Upside down in the Third World…

…or is it the First World that’s fucked?
First check out this article:
The Bacon-Wrapped Hot Dog: So Good It’s Illegal
Now, which of the following do you think is harder for me to explain to a classroom full of average Thai kids?

  1. Why it’s illegal (and a jailable offense) to sell grilled hot dogs where I’m from
  2. Why street vendors where I’m from have to watch out for cops, health and safety officials and extortionate gangs
  3. Why any of the above parties can’t be universally placated with a free meal now and then

If they outlawed (and enforced) hot dog grilling in Bangkok alone, 20,000 people would have to change careers. Luckily, most of the changing would be done by just selling different stuff on the cart the next day, but still…