Thai Society/Culture Work

Prime Harshness

From my student’s essay on problems in Thailand:

“If I were Prime Minister, the first thing I would do is help beggars in Thailand, because the beggars are pathetic. They can’t find a good job…”

She must be a transfer student from Public Administration.

Food Society & Culture Videos

I, cultural interpretor

WARNING: If you are vegan, watching these videos will melt your eyeballs.

There couldn’t possibly be a western equivalent to this horrifying act of culinary cruelty, right?


Attributing this reaction to ionic exchange somehow doesn’t make it less difficult to watch (again and again).

Around Mahasarakham Oh, baby! Photos Videos

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!

Oh, baby! Photos

Sewious Biznis

FYI: This is what happens when you insist that daddy draws on your face with mommy’s lipstick pencil.

There are some great photos in this set that I’ll post later.

Cars Photos

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).

Music Videos

Didn’t know she had the GI Joe Kung Fu Grip

Wow… memories…

Around Mahasarakham Videos Work

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…

Oh, baby! Photos

Mina ate a blue marker…

…and was very proud of it.


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.

Photos Work

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.

Around Mahasarakham Photos Work

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..

Thai Society/Culture Videos

Thai Ghost Busker

Toys & Tech

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.

Food Thai Society/Culture

Last Dinner in Bangkok

yukke - hopefully a non-lethal variety
Korean ribeye
oh my tontoro

This meal was so good, it cannot be described properly with words… Suffice to say, it knocked us all out with a quantity/quality double combo.

@ one of the numerous Korean BBQ joints near Sukhumvit Soi 12

Exploits Photos

Conrad Hotel, Bangkok




Tagging along with friends who got an upgrade to an executive suite… Welcome drink, sir? Champagne. The room keycards have leather jackets and there’s a Herman Miller chair in the room.

Exploits Photos

Burger King and Heinie, Khao San Road


Double Whopper with cheese. 6 am.

Japanese Society/Culture Videos

Japanese Jedi

This video just keeps getting better and better. Pink wakizashi!

(via my pal Azumi on FB)


Just so you know…

…this is the supposedly the longest entry in Wikipedia: List of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd edition monsters (nothing of value for normal people; do not click unless you want to wait for it to load for a loooong time)

Nerds FTW!

(This post was inspired by a love for Wikipedia and Borabu Dave, who isn’t sure if I’m still running this blog or not.)

Oh, baby! Photos

A moment of peace…

…while Max contemplates pushing his sister over (don’t mess with her when she has that look in her eyes, boy!).

(taken at a local temple being used as polling place for the national election; we were waiting for mommy to cast her ballot)

Around Mahasarakham Thai Society/Culture Toys & Tech

One ThaiPad Per Child

"One Tablet PC per Child"

I took this photo a couple months ago out toward the local ostrich farm. The political party that put tons of these signs up on all the roads won Sunday’s elections, so I guess Max and Mina will be getting their ThaiPads soon…