Spondias mombin aka ma-kok (?????)

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Somebody brought in a bag of these the other day and I’d never seen them before so I had somebody write down the name. If I’m summarizing correctly, this may be a kind of olive, or related to olives. What I know is that it was really bitter and sour, the taste of bitter fruits that make your mouth pucker or what the Japanese call shibui (astringent). That explains the bag of chili-laced sugar the ma-kok are sold with (although this also accompanies sweet fruits as well; pineapples, sour mango, various indigenous “apples,” etc.)
I have to be careful to record all of the rare stuff I encounter here because I may never see some of them again.

1:50 AM

I’m grading writing exams and listening to Houses of the Holy. Definitely my favorite Zepp. I tried grading earlier in the evening but Max would come and take my pen away every time. Eventually I grew tired of getting nothing done and crashed out on the couch. when I woke up it was dark throughout the house and the fan that Nam had thoughtfully pointed at me hadn’t kept the mosquitoes from biting the hell out of my legs. Once I got up for water I remembered the grading I’d been doing and now I sit here, scratching my legs and appreciating a quiet house (save for The Rain Song).
Damn, even the songs I don’t really like on this album are pretty goddamn good.

Five jive colors of haplessness (aka Maxie Brushing Chicks)

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Luring them in.


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Brush! Brush! Brush!


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They got away!


A few weeks ago, Max’s grandmother brought over these little guys from the night market in a neighboring town, Nong Vang. I wasn’t really keen on the idea of keeping them at first because I was afraid Max might kill them… He’s still too young to understand his strength or about hurting things. Sure enough, the couple weeks was filled with episodes of Max almost strangling the yellow one, Max stomping on the yellow one and hurting its leg, and as shown above, Max coercing them into various forms of Godzilla role play. As it turned out, however, the chickies were not doomed by Max (they eventually learned to run away from him), they were doomed by their own actions and nature.
Brownie (why the hell would you dye a chick brown? or yellow for that matter?) was the first to go. He fell in a planter filled with rain water and drowned (actually, Yellow almost went this way first, but the nanny found him in the act of drowning and pulled him out. He spat up a load of water and we wrapped him in a towel for the night. Amazingly, he was fully recovered the next day. We were sure he was a goner, but he still had a couple weeks to live).
Yellow, Red, and Greenie were last seen on Sunday, when they squeezed through our fence or flew over it (they were just learning to fly) and went into our neighbor’s yard – the neighbor with a doberman and another mutt. He called me to let me know he’d seen the chicks in his yard and told us they needed to be kept in a cage. The thing is, I hate keeping birds in cages and I naively thought that the chicks would be happy in their safe little yard where they could run around all day pecking at this and that and chirping our ears off without a worry in the world. They eventually became pets, coming up to the front door at the end of each day so I would put them in their box for the night. But apparently, this idyllic lifestyle just wasn’t enough for these chicks, and they set off into the neighborhood with big ideas and the worst camouflage patterns, ever. I’m pretty sure they got eaten by the dogs running around here, but I sometimes wonder if they’ll show up with new plumage somewhere down the line, driving shiny new Cadillacs and yelling at us that, see, they’d followed their dreams and made something of themselves.
Shit.
So if I ever want to keep chickens again, I need to keep them in an enclosure, or live on a farm or something. I just don’t see it happening. Oh well, at least we still have Pinkie. He’s the sole survivor, and he’s a bit depressed about losing his sibs. We’ll see if he’s a survivor or not. I caught him running on top of the brick wall separating our yard from the neighbor’s (again, the dobe-keeper) and I smacked him down onto our side – but I can’t be there all the time. I guess we’ll just see what happens.
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P.S. This is the second set of improbably colored animals we’ve kept in Thailand. I guess the next step is dying a tribe of monkeys and convincing them to stay in our yard. At least we have bananas in the back!

Backwards Baby Bjorn

Yes, it works*.
And yes, those are red boxers with white hearts on them.
No, that’s not why I took the color out.
I did that because my complexion turns to “mottled tomato” on really hot days (lots of those in Thailand).
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The screens we’re going through are goza-like rolls we’ve hung from a curtain rod in front of the front door to block the sun at the end of the day, because our house faces the sunset.
*It doesn’t quite feel right, though, maybe a bit like putting a t-shirt on backwards.

Wayback archive

I just went through my bookmarks, which have been transferred from browser to newer browser to internet bookmarking service to different browser to FTP site via FF plugin to even shinier browser over the past eight years and not really cleaned for the past three.
Its amazing how many sites are gone, mostly replaced by domain sitters now. I figure about 80% of the blogs I’ve ever bookmarked are either deserted (in the case of a free hosting service like blogspot) or just gone.
Blogging feels so old school… I remember the moblogging and videoblogging fads very well. Hell, kid, when I was your age we walked to our blogs ten miles and back – through the snow!

18 oz.

Last night marked a new record in baby pigginess: Max downed 18 ounces of formula in one extended feeding, over the course of around one hour. 18 ounces! 18 OUNCES! 18 OUNCES TO FREEDOM!!

Wherein I confront craziness

In the interest of getting everything on the record, we decided to confront the crazy bitch, at her request, at the police station last Thursday, dependant on a couple of things. We first called in a favor and asked about the officer in charge and got back the answer that he had a reputation for being straight, and a good cop. That was a good sign, because a chance you take when going to the cops here in an unclear case like this one is that the cops are either sided with your opponents for whatever reason, or the cops themselves want something. So I wired myself with a cellphone transmitting to my PC at home.
That accomplished, we brought along Nam’s little sister to help watch Max and went to the station. The entire meeting lasted 30 minutes, because everybody except the crazy bitch wanted it to end quickly. She brought along a female teacher from Nam’s university for whatever reason and even she seemingly wanted it to end quickly. Why? Because in those thirty minutes, the crazy bitch never indicated what she wanted until the very end but did manage to tell everyone how she nearly caused an accident in the middle of an intersection when she pulled alongside me, in the lane for oncoming traffic, and expected me to sideswipe some kids on motorbikes to make room for her… And then got so angry because I didn’t accommodate her that she followed me for a kilometer, pulled in front of my car, and slammed on her brakes to cause an accident – WITH KIDS IN THE CAR!!! (and from what I saw, they weren’t even wearing seatbelts, because both of them were thrown forward, hard.)
By the time the cop heard this, he’d pretty much had enough of her so he kept repeating the same question, namely asking just what it was that she wanted. Because she wouldn’t say what she wanted, I got the strange feeling she was waiting for an apology from me but was somehow too embarrassed to ask for it. You’d never guess it, but… Just for the hell of it, I apologized. And guess what? That was that. Rather, that was it. The whole time, she wanted an apology from me for somehow causing her to almost (intentionally) cause two accidents in two minutes. When everybody realized that, it was like light bulbs went on above their heads. Nam, me, the cop, the crazy bitch’s friend. I mean road rage is one thing, but trying to cause accidents and then admitting it to a cop in a police station because you think it’ll get someone else in trouble, all because you want an apology is… fucking crazy, or as the Chinese exchange students at the good ol’ U of T used to say, C-R-A-Z-I-O-U-S.
So, the situation is resolved. I actually felt good about making the crazy bitch feel good, too (by apologizing). I could’ve really pissed her off by letting it get to the “demanding an apology” stage and then refusing to do so – I had every right to – but even though I intensely disliked her, I felt sorry for her at the same time. Someday, when I get to Buddhist anti-purgatory, I expect some fucking deity to remember the time I was nice to a crazy person, and perhaps just temporarily put out the fire burning my ass off.
That is all.