Max’s first fish

Maxie's first fish - a tilapia!

A couple weeks ago, we went to my coworker and good friend’s father-in-law’s place for his new house celebration. He’d built a new house on top of the foundations of an older one at his 15 rai (1 rai = 0.4 acres) property five minutes walk from our home. There are several fish ponds on the site, stocked with all kinds of fish including tilapia, catfish, snakehead, etc.

Max was so excited about going fishing for real, he couldn’t sleep the night before. Until then, we’d been practicing for safety with hookless tackle (a rubber door stopper tied to the line) at the ponds in our neighborhood, but Max was ready for the real deal. When morning rolled around, we went out into our garden and dug up worms for bait, which both Max and Mina couldn’t believe just lived in the ground around our house…

Just before noon, we headed over to my friend’s FIL’s place and found that Max was unwilling to eat; he was completely enthralled with the prospect of actually fishing, so I pulled a couple of bass rods from the back of our car and set up with light rigs. Then:

This was actually his second fish, perhaps a bleeker, related to carp in any case. We were fishing the shallows in 1 meter deep water with fallen submerged trees everywhere, so my sliding sinker rig did a perfect job. The total for the day was five small fish between Max and his friends, and typically, they all got bored after pulling in their own fish. Max was scared to actually touch the fish, just as I remember being, so it was a good learning experience for everybody.

On the deep side of the pond we were fishing they apparently catch 7-8 kilogram catfish of various species (giant Mekong cats included!) on a regular basis; I saw some they pulled that morning in the 5kg range waiting to be prepared for eating, so I don’t doubt it. I was trying to keep the kids from being traumatized by a leviathan, so we stayed in the shallows!

Things I replaced on our car over summer vacation

You may understand part of the pain and frustration we¬†experienced if you can recognize the complete set of gaskets and ferrofluid engine mounts (replaced with solid urethane mounts). Yes, the whole front end of our Cefiro A33 (USDM: Infiniti i30) was taken apart and put together again. It runs really sweet now, except for a noisy power steering pump, another set of wheel bearings, some paint bubbling up on the roof, etc., etc., and so forth…. And my car, the 40 year old Kujira Crown, will be totally done sometime this year, hopefully (that’s a story in itself; not enough space or patience to cover it here).

RMU Freshman Molam Performance

Taken (shakily, sorry!) at dinner gathering for the International Conference on Science and Social Science / International Conference on Science and Agricultural Technology held at Rajabhat Maha Sarakham University in Thailand.

Being MC for an event means you get the closest seat to the stage!

I announced that it’s common practice to tip the performers if you like them, and I think the girls and the band made out pretty well…

lightened up

I’m socked in with extra work this week MCing for an international conference to be held at my school, Rajabhat Maha Sarakham University, tomorrow and the day after. This morning we held a rehearsal. To get in the mood, I poured cold water over my head after waking up and watched an episode of Louie before heading in — this is the best prep for public speaking that I’ve found.

Oh my ESL

A friend showed me some homework his students turned in last week (the assignment was to bring in examples of different charts, graphs, diagrams, etc.) and I had to pass along the joy:

Yes, they will be graduating university in a few years, and yes, you may pay them minimum wage.

A Tribute to Buildings 1&2, Rajabhat Maha Sarakham University

They are knocking down our “Little House on the Prairie” schoolhouses and will soon replace them with new facilities. They were probably the oldest buildings on campus with solid wood construction, and were a lot cooler than the concrete buildings that have come to represent typical SE Asian construction… In recent years, some of the rooms had been upgraded with whiteboards and sound systems, but there was nothing like going into class every morning and asking students to clean the blackboard erasers.

They would knock the erasers on the outside wall below the window sills, which is how students coming in late could hear that class was starting. These classrooms were a pain to teach in on the hottest days, but were still more comfortable than their modern uncooled counterparts in our newest buildings (one of which is the tallest building in Sarakham yet boasts classrooms with no AC, broken desks, and in the ghettoiest rooms, blackboards as well).

Photo by Aj. Manoon; used with his sister's permission <-- SE Asian due diligence

These were mostly used as auxiliary classrooms and our English program will eventually move from our home in an old administration building (Building 4) to the new buildings whenever they are finished. Reversely, the prior occupants of Buildings 1&2 (including Thai Dance, Music, and Thai Language departments) have come to replace the Law department in our building, so instead of meeting aspiring ambulance chasers in our hallways, we are now serenaded by glorious band practice sessions and Thai dancing below the stairwells. We’re so used to it. it’s hardly even surreal anymore..

Ore w Maikeru – rapmushi

First of all, people who called Google+ a “killer app” the week it was launched are either Brinlickers, or just completely misusing the word.

Second, rapmushi is truly a killer app for the iPhone.

I fucking detest Apple and have refused to buy anything they made since Steve Jobs sent me an email demanding money for a previously free macdotcom email address ~12 years ago and declared that “the era of free is over.”* However, if I could overlook the kind of mindlessness and snobbery that that Apple culture perpetuates, I might buy an iPad just to play this app; it’s that good. The last time I was moved to purchase a new system by a software title was by Parappa the Rapper on the original PlayStation.

*Actually, this statement was and still is true for Apple users, but he was talking about free services like webmail. The really ironic thing is that this truly outstanding rap mushi app is free.