MTV redux

So MTV has somewhat atoned for the past decades of sin by finally providing… music videos! I browsed around for an hour and realized it’s literally been 20 years since I’ve really watched music videos… And it’s telling to see the #1 watched video on the site (I swear the kids linking to that vid must think Wang Chung is an Asian porn site).
Some of the videos seem to be in fairly high def as well. Go check it out;

Our New Thai House Part 3 – Groundwork

Timeline: End of July to mid-August 2007
The foundations have been set to floor level (one meter off the ground) and are being extended to roof level.
In this photo, our site is located at the four columns wrapped in wooden supports visible between the man in the blue shirt at the approximate middle of the photo and the first power pole to his right.
The beginnings of our house. Notice the use of eucalyptus as framework; this is standard building practice all throughout Thailand for all types of buildings. In other Asian countries, they tend to use more bamboo but there’s not so much of that here.
A couple weeks later, the eucalyptus framework has been replaced with cinder blocks, the stairs and pavilion have been added, and all foundations have been extended to roof level.
Ski mask welding in stifling weather, against a beautiful sunset sky. Most of these guys don’t bother with eye protection for arc welding. This guy sure didn’t.


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

Disposable Diapers vs Cloth: Carbon Footprint

We did the cloth diaper thing for a while and I was happy to do my own little part for the environment, but as soon as I realized how poorly cloth diapers performed compared to disposables, we switched. Now it seems that using cloth nappies might not be as environmentally friendly (in regards to greenhouse gas emissions) as everybody assumed: Blow to image of ‘green’ reusable nappy

“A government report that found old-fashioned reusable nappies damage the environment more than disposables has been hushed up because ministers are embarrassed by its findings…
…The report found that while disposable nappies used over 2½ years would have a global warming , impact of 550kg of CO2 reusable nappies produced 570kg of CO2 on average. But if parents used tumble dryers and washed the reusable nappies at 90C, the impact could spiral to . 993kg of CO2 A Defra spokesman said the government was shelving plans for future research on nappies.”

I guess the thing to remember is that the carbon footprint is only a part of the total environmental impact.

Literary Rules

  • Prepositions are not words to end sentences with.
  • And don’t start a sentence with a conjunction.
  • It is wrong to ever split an infinitive.
  • Avoid clichés like the plague. (They’re old hat)
  • Also, always avoid annoying alliteration.
  • Be more or less specific.
  • Remarks in brackets (however relevant) are (usually) (but not always) unnecessary.
  • Also too, never, ever use repetitive redundancies.
  • No sentence fragments.
  • Contractions aren’t necessary and shouldn’t be used.
  • Foreign words and phrases are not apropos.
  • Do not be redundant; do not use more words than necessary; it’s highly superfluous.
  • One should NEVER generalize.
  • Comparisons are as bad as clichés.
  • Don’t use no double negatives.
  • Eschew ampersands & abbreviations, etc.
  • One-word sentences? Eliminate.
  • Analogies in writing are like feathers on a snake.
  • The passive voice is to be ignored.
  • Eliminate commas, that are, not necessary. Parenthetical words however should be enclosed in commas.
  • Never use a big word when a diminutive one would suffice.
  • Kill all exclamation points!!!
  • Use words correctly, irregardless of how others use them.
  • Understatement is always the absolute best way to put forth earth shaking ideas.
  • Use the apostrophe in it’s proper place and omit it when its not needed.
  • Eliminate quotations. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.”
  • If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a thousand times: Resist hyperbole; not one writer in a million can use it correctly.
  • Puns are for children, not groan readers.
  • Go around the barn at high noon to avoid colloquialisms.
  • Even if a mixed metaphor sings, it should be derailed.
  • Who needs rhetorical questions?
  • Exaggeration is a billion times worse than understatement.

Forwarded by one of my students.

Quick ‘n Dirty Beef Panang

Beef Panang is considered a dry curry (for Thailand at least) because it contains less roux (liquid base), and specifically, less coconut milk than other Thai curries. It is also one of the best uses for lean/tough beef, which is great since that’s pretty much all we have around here. Panang is an easy dish to make and my way is even easier than most. I’ve tried it the normally advocated way, by heating curry paste in coconut milk first, but I’ve found this is a waste of time when using ready-made curry paste. So without further ado:

  • Beef – Any cut. Any quantity approximating that in the photos below (about 1.5 pounds).
  • Thai red curry paste – Suitable quantity depends on brand; see photos below for reference
  • Coconut milk – About one cup
  • Fresh kaffir lime leaves – Slice these into strips. I used 2-3 big leaves in the photos below.
  • Nampla (filtered fish sauce) – Suitable quantity depends on brand; I only used a couple dashes since I was using a fairly pungent brand. Remember, the only 2 reasons to use nampla are to make things SALTIER and FUNKIER – it doesn’t make a dish magically Thai, but it sure can funktify (esp. if you throw it in a hot frying pan).
  • OPTIONAL: Raw cane sugar – A tablespoon or so. I forego the use of sugar because I can’t stand sweet curries, and this dish already contains coconut milk.

Cut the beef into strips. Traditionally, it should be cut into thinner strips than this, but I like bite-sized chunks. Cut the kaffir lime leaves up as well. The baggie in the background contains the red curry paste (we only used about half).
Heat a bit of vegetable oil in the pan and add the red curry paste. Fry it for a couple minutes on medium high heat to activate it, stirring rapidly to prevent sticking and burning. Then add the meat and stir often.
Did I forget to mention that Nam was cooking while I took photos? Anyway, the baby started waking up at this point so the coconut milk was added earlier than usual – we usually wait until the meat is slightly browned but it turned out not to make a difference. Also, the Quick ‘n Dirty series of recipes is designed for those that need to display adaptability on occasion, so they are meant to be stretched and improvised upon.
After the coconut milk is added, add a couple splashes of nampra (be careful, it’s really salty! You can always add more later, as well as sugar if you want) and also the lime leaves. Then turn the heat down to low-medium and let it simmer until either the meat becomes unbelievable soft and succulent, or tempted by the heavenly smell, you start scooping ladlefuls of panang onto hot mounds of rice and let the little piggy in you take over.
Alternatively, you can serve with boiled egg halves and veggies of some kind.
Note that you can eat the lime leaves, but they are a bit tough. I usually put them to the side.
This is C. Buddha signing off with today’s Quick ‘n Dirty recipe – funky and delicious, yet simple and semi-authentic-ish Beef Panang.

Keep it real

There are some fools claiming it’s all about WordPress. Get real, have you really read your master’s teachings? Is it not apparent with each link he magically conjures up in your footer?
Likewise, there are some claiming it’s all about Drupal or Textpattern or Nucleus (or Mambo or b2evolution). I’m not claiming that MT (which is running this blog) is the best, rather, I’m calling for the next true level of blogging software… We are far from the combination of power, features, and ease of use that each blogging platform claims to have but doesn’t really deliver… Bring on the next level, please. We are all waiting.