RIP Bloglines, wistrab Loris

So Bloglines is dead. Just as well, since it seems the owners are busy licking Twitterific balls. I’m glad I switched, even though it was a couple years late.

Feeling nostalgic, I logged in one last time and encountered a captcha – a brilliant one. Inspired by a series of captcha cartoons my brother showed me last week, I spent a whole five minutes creating my own:

…I guess I’ll be keeping my day job.

Visa Run 2010

I’ve been living overseas for half of my life and applying for visas regularly throughout that time. It never gets easier. Hell, now I have to report every ninety days to immigration (in person or by mail-in form) just for the honor of living here.

At least tomorrow’s visa run is just an hour away, in Khon Kaen. It used to be in the border town of Mukdahan (famous for peppery pork sausage and a shitty Indochinese market), and before that, the border town of Nong Khai (famous for a “friendship” bridge that Japanese engineers would scoff at, plus a shitty Indochinese market), but I suppose they got tired of dealing with so many foreigners coming from hours away.

I’ve met people that travel around to different countries just collecting stamps in their passports, and I really despise them. Collect some for me, fuckers. I’ll give you my passport and all the other shit you need to extend my visa for a year, and you go stand in line with fifty other pissed off, whiny expats that wai to office shrubbery and tow around ugly village wives picking grasshopper legs out of their teeth.

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I fucking hate visa runs.

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UPDATE: I’m done! Everything went really smoothly this year; the staff at Khon Kaen immigration is great and the labor office in Maha Sarakham has always been understanding, if a little comfortably-paced.

Baby Updates 9/26/2010

  • Max is 2 years and 5 months old and can identify around forty animals in English and Thai (we’re holding back on teaching him Japanese so far)
  • He can sing the ABC song and did so on stage with thirty kids at least twice his age this morning (at a strange baby TV expo at a local hotel [Takasila #2] I still don’t really understand)
  • He is going through a crybaby phase (please let it be a short one) and goes to mommy when he really wants something
  • He is currently getting over a serious cough that’s spread around schools all over Thailand

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  • Mina is nine months old and can stand unsupported for 7-8 second stretches
  • She wakes up smiling and can shake her head no
  • She can scream louder and higher than humanly possible (this usually happens when you’ve wronged her by taking foreign objects out of her mouth or wiping her face clean)
  • She fights dirty and has recently added a new move – Super Baby Razor Tooth Chomp
  • She is currently coming down with a serious cough that’s spread around schools all over Thailand

dominant eye

Max can play with his legos and blocks all day when he’s in the mood. He actually prefers clay sculpting, drawing, and painting, but legos are great once in a while. Unfortunately, all he has is a cheapo set that doesn’t fit together too well (too loose), but I’m saving up to buy him a big bucket of the real thing.

The best spam to make it through my Gmail filters in recent times

It’s apparently Persian; I just think it looks cool. Reminds me of starting out in DTP straight out of Japanese university and learning how to lay out these texts running right to left.

Boy (?) Scouts

I know that boy scout leaders in other countries wear khaki uniforms as well, but it’s just too common of a sight in Thailand. They take their scout positions very seriously here, and the thing that gets me is that the scout leader uniform is just a giant version of the ones worn by the scouts themselves. So sometimes I’ll be attending some official function with school presidents and deans and other demigods-in-their-own-mind and some poindexter in a half-length khaki uniform and clip-on tie will amble up on stage and start presenting awards or whatever… It’s really quite trippy.

I guess the moral of this story is that if you happen to come across a sweaty, middle-aged man in Thailand dressed like a little boy scout, complete with brimmed hat and fake leather shoes, don’t worry! He’s not a pedobear! He’s a leader of… boys!

Tobita Shinchi Rap

I’ve been wanting to post this video for some time now, but forgot where I put the link. It is, quite simply, brilliant:

For those who don’t know, Tobita Shinchi is one of the historical red light districts in Osaka. Located in Nishinari-ku, the brothels operate to this day, largely unaffected by anti-prostitution laws and the police. It is the largest brothel district in Kansai.

The equivalent of madames stand in the genkan (entryways) of their homes and beckon passers-by to come in with clapping and hand gestures, ostensibly “for a meal” where they might just happen to “hit it off” with one of the young women living there. This is how they skirt around the law.

Comparisons are often made between Tobita and Amsterdam, but I have to say that the former is not geared toward tourism – it’s scary walking down the small streets at night, and foreigners that hang around there are usually not up to any good. The safest way to check it out is by car, behind tinted windows. This often elicits the flashiest performances by the madames trying to get business.

INN-DARA SMS Spammers deserve to die

I use text messaging on my mobile quite sparingly, as is the case with voice calls as well, since my life has become devoted to babies. So it’s a real irritation that some stupid fucking Thai celebrity news service called INN-Dara has been spamming me with 15-20 messages every day for the past two weeks; it’s basically caused me to stop checking messages altogether.

I’m on DTAC, and all the other people I know receiving this spam are also on DTAC. However, calling DTAC to complain has proved unhelpful – they simply say that this is a “service” that will cut off automatically after 15 days if we don’t subscribe.

DTAC and INN-Dara, please take notice: NOBODY LIKES YOUR FUCKING SPAM! PLEASE CHOKE ON FETID RAT DROPPINGS AND DIE HORRIBLY, SLOWLY, AND PREFERABLY AWAY FROM THE VIEW OF WOMEN AND CHILDREN (and don’t let us know about your funeral by text message, either – nobody wants to go).

UPDATE: Of course, within seconds of publishing this post, I received a new message from INN-DARA. Aaaaaaaargh!! Karma’s a bitch, bitches!

UPDATE: I’ve found out how to unsubscribe from this irritating as hell service (a tested solution). From your DTAC phone, dial *74852 and press the call button. You should receive a final message that you have unsubscribed. If you are on another mobile carrier such as True Move or AIS, or are subscribed to another “service” perpetrated by the spammers at INN News, refer to the chart below (I’m keeping it on my server so as not to send these fuckers any traffic). What really gets to me is that DTAC won’t tell you how to unsubscribe; it’s quite obvious they are getting paid to allow this spam on their network.

Dropbox vs. Google Docs for document backup

Hey, that rhymes, yo.

Before Dropbox came along (I actually tried 3 or 4 similar services, but Dropbox was the best), I was backing up all of my Office documents (MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint) in Google docs, which replaced the time-honored practice of e-mailing documents to myself… As it turns out, I was better off doing just that, because I recently discovered that a lot of the formatting in the documents (particularly tables and tabs) were being corrupted by Google docs, whereas I haven’t had a problem with e-mail attachments for many years.

But all of that is moot now because Dropbox has largely replaced both e-mail backups and flash drive transfers (for “small” files) between all of my PCs. Don’t get me wrong, I still use Google docs on a regular basis and prefer it to any other Microsoft Office alternative (although not to Office itself), but for pre-existing Office document backup and fidelity, I prefer Dropbox.

An Island of 31 Square Miles

15 years ago, there were rumors of a lone wild man living in the Amazon forest. The rumors were confirmed by sightings and, eventually, contact by Brazilian government officials who determined that he was the last survivor of an uncontacted tribe.

To protect him, they created a 31 square mile sanctuary which was meant to stop the encroachment of land-hungry settlers and loggers.

This is one of the most interesting things I’ve read in a while and you can check it out over at Slate: The Most Isolated Man on the Planet