Steven Seagal can’t get no love

This is quite excellent: Tokyo Mango’s Interview with the Dalai Lama’s Youngest Brother
The money quote:

“And then, on the other side of the scale, there’s Steven Seagal. Oh my god. I met him when he came here. He was wearing a funny coat, a Chinese brocade, funny trousers, and funny shoes with that ponytail. I asked him, “Why do you dress in such a peculiar manner?” He didn’t say anything. He’s arrogant, and pretends to be a Tibetan reincarnate. But why? He’s a strange man.”

Dissed by the Dalai Lama’s brother. Dude…

Our New Thai House Part 2 – Foundations

When setting the first foundation of a Thai house, it is a common practice to hire a Brahman priest and hold a blessing ceremony. Enter Ajarn Chachawan (Ajarn is an honorific title equivalent to sensei in Japanese and pretty much nothing in English), pictured on the left in the photo below. He was also the announcer/master of ceremonies who did the morning ceremony for our wedding two years ago. He will also be supervising the installation of an animistic “spirit house” on our property this month or next. Truth be told, he’s pretty much our go-to guy for all our Brahman needs.
Clockwise from Ajarn Chachawan: Mother-in-law, yours truly, worker, Nam, worker in red shirt, worker in OSHA-approved safety flip flops (standard worker footwear here; they even weld and walk on roof support beams in them).
The shot below was taken from the rear of our property (marked with wooden border) toward the pond and front of the (then future) house.
You can see the two foundations we just planted held in place with tripodal wooden supports. Tied to those foundations with holy-ish string are items of various significance such as banana tree branches and a woven reed fish trap with coins (Thai Baht) in it (we were warned not to put a lot of money in the trap since it would be stolen in the night. And of course it was.). In the holes for the foundations, under the two-piece (tower in basket) wrought iron assembly, we also placed items of various significance which we purchased/gathered a day earlier. This included a specific kind of unhusked “new” rice (that I popped over the stove like popcorn), leaves of a religiously significant species of tree (from a nice old lady’s yard – she also gave us seeds to plant our own trees with, but we lost them), special gold/silver/bronze painted bricks and cedarlike stakes that we purchased at a Buddhist goods store, plus a few other things that escape my memory (at one point I had the list we used for shopping but I lost this as well).


Our New Thai House entries:
Our New Thai House Part 1 – Picking a Plot
Our New Thai House Part 2 – Foundations
Our New Thai House Part 3 – Groundwork
Our New Thai House Part 4 – Roof and Walls
Our New Thai House Part 5 – The Blessing Way
Landscaping Our House – Before and After

This is not an intentional attack site

A couple of friends let me know that this site is being listed as an “attack site” in Firefox 3 and at least one antivirus program (Avast). This is not without reason. I found a hijacking script in my main index page today. I promptly deleted it, but am not sure how the script got there in the first place. I’ve taken steps to prevent it from happening again, but this is just another reason I’m leaving Dreamhost.
In the meantime, I apologize if this problem affected anybody, and this is NOT AN ATTACK SITE (anymore, admittedly).
I wonder how long it will take for FF3 to unlist me as an attack site now. According to this page, “The list of known attack sites is maintained by the community and updated regularly.” Hope that works both ways, for removing attack site status as well as adding it. Anybody know? (hint hint)
Here is the warning message appearing in Firefox 3: View image


I get this strange urge to slap people who sing I am a rock out loud*… It triggers my “anti-mime” reflex on some primal level.
* Yes, this happens with surprising regularity in both Japan and Thailand (I hear that Scarborough Fair is the more popular track in China though.

Adventures in English Teaching

So you might have noticed that I don’t talk about my job here much, and there are several reasons for that. It’s mostly because I’ve read a lot of people blog about teaching and I personally found it less than enthralling, and that was before I was teaching. My not blogging about teaching definitely is not an indication that I don’t enjoy it… (After writing the previous passage, I realize that the only thing less enthralling than reading about English teaching on a blog is reading about why an English teacher who blogs doesn’t blog about work.)
Anyhow, today I had the hardest time figuring out what a student was trying to write about for an in-class assignment on what he had done for summer vacation. The words that caught my eyes on the page were “I went home and bred my niece.” Haha, I thought, and pointed out the mistake. He immediately corrected the sentence to “I went home and breed my niece.”
I told him to look up the word in the dictionary, which he did, and then turned quite red with embarrassment. Great, I thought, now I’ll finally figure out what he was trying to say. He corrected the sentence for the second time, and this time it said, “I went home and breeds my niece.” By this time I was feeling really quite sorry for his niece and decided to drop it altogether; I corrected his sentence to “I went home and took care of my niece.”
I’m still a bit unclear about what he was trying to say, though.
There – I’ve gone and blogged about English teaching, and the world might even be a bit better for it. Watch your nieces, though.

Ekusupato vs. Ekisupato

Is there anything more annoying than the jet set expert on (pick any foreign country)? I just read a guide to eating sushi by a self-proclaimed successful author who visited Japan a few times and was probably taken to nice places to eat, and now seems to be a full-blown master of sushi, sake, and Japanese table manners (among MANY other things).
Shabure, shabure, Mr. Roboto.

90-day report

Pretty much every foreigner in Thailand on a non-immigrant visa is supposed to report into immigration every 90 days. This may be in the form of a letter, except if the immigration officer tells you to report in person (or send a representative from your organization in). Of course, all the teachers at our school got stuck with the latter method, and the girl who usually goes in for us (we have to report to immigration in Nong Khai, on the border with Laos) was busy, so a coworker and I went in a university car. Nam also came along with us to help clear any snags that might come up (none did, luckily).
(My mom came out all the way from the states yesterday to stay with us and the baby for a month and a half.)
(We have a new nanny, who just started coming over last week.)
So we had to leave the baby at home all day with my mom who speaks no Thai and our nanny who speaks no English, and it was the longest time Nam has ever spent away from the baby. So you can probably guess the recurring topic of conversation in the car, three hours there and three hours back.
Of course, we got back home and everything was fine. Mom is still mom, nanny is still nanny, and baby is still unconcerned about the rising price of oil, so all is well.