eat my peta

There is something very ironic about somebody commenting on our wedding photos and claiming that the elephants we hired were stolen from the forest and very badly trained, yet not actually knowing anything about the situation… Girls, I paid for those elephants to be trucked out from Surin specifically so they wouldn’t have to walk on the hot asphalt… They were pedigreed, well-mannered, and very well-trained. And at the end of the day:
THEY. WERE. FUCKING. DELICIOUS!
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Hug a tree – somewhere else!

On Elephants in Thailand

Those of you that attended our wedding last year, keep those memories safe because Thailand has done what they’ve promised to do for years and are now actively enforcing the “no pachyderms on the street” law.
Well, this is what many people think of the new law:

I just saw the Thai equivalent of COPS where the bad guy – I shit you not – was trying to get away on an elephant. The ele wasn’t so big and I’m sure if this had happened in any other country it would have ended in a barrage of 12 gauge slugs… but there were tons of cameras following the “getaway,” and Thais love elephants so much that they basically let it run wild down the wrong side of a busy Bangkok street at night. It made for good television. In the end, they kind of directed it to a narrower street and into an empty lot, where they presumably gave the handler (AKA the bad guy) a ticket for riding an elephant on the street.
Hey, I’m all for letting the animals live in their natural environment and not exploiting them and all, but you actually have to think about this a little harder than, “Let’s return these 3,000 pound critters to their natural environment so they can be happy and natural!” – THERE AIN”T NO FUCKIN’ FOREST LEFT FOR ALL THE ELEPHANTS, PEOPLE! Besides, being hand fed sugar cane on the dirty city streets of SE Asia beats the hell out of being hunted with AKs and RPGs in an African nature preserve, yo…
…I’m just saying.

Golden

We are at the end of the Golden Week holiday in Japan and ironically, I’ve been too busy to blog. Getting ready for the big move to Thailand in October and hanging out with friends who came to visit Awaji.
This island turns into a huge tourist trap during the spring and summer holidays – a nice change, but kind of messed up if you have to drive anywhere. I’ve been taking some photos, which I will post a set of later, and got – wait for it – even more wedding photos off of people. If you are not completely sick of seeing me in a white tuxedo yet, you soon will be.
Michelle’s Photo Set
Dave’s Photo Set
As always, links to all known photo sets for the wedding can be found here.
Other photo-related news: You might get a kick out of my set of JUMP photos, which also reminds me – if you are signed up on flickr, come join my newly-created Might as Well Jump Photo Group.
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Yet more wedding photos

It’s crunch time. The hardiest of you have persevered, putting your lives on hold for the cause. Work left unfinished, families forgotten, babies left unfed… I am speaking, of course, of our ridiculously huge collection of wedding photos. I asked for complete photodocumentation of this all-day event before it occurred, and you all delivered.
I currently tally all the wedding-related photos on my Flickr account at around 4,700 and over 5 gigabytes. There’s perhaps another loose gig spread around Shutterfly and Yahoo albums, all of which are linked to on the Thailand Wedding Photos entry.
Today I added the long-awaited photos from the “professional” photographer we hired for the event. I took a look at them last night and have a verdict: He was not the best photographer we had on site (some of our guests were noticeably more skilled), but by sheer chance and dogged determination (even nudging monks out of the way at some points) he did get some shots that were missed by everyone else. They are worth going over in slide-show mode when you have some spare time. There are 350+ shots in the morning set, and 250+ in the night set, so without further ado:
Hired photographer’s Morning (Wedding Ceremony) Photos
Hired photographer’s Night (Reception) Photos
If any of you have photos from the trip/wedding you would like to share, let me know and it shall be done. Meanwhile, it is time to start working on video.

Uncle Po

One benefit of getting married is that now I have an uncle Po. I guess I have always secretly wanted an uncle named Po. I mean, who wouldn’t? Uncle Po wore a pimp ass purple silk shirt to my wedding, and was aggressive in getting the photos he wanted with his weathered Nikon – film, of course. Uncle Po is OG like that.
Anyway, go check out his work: Photos from Uncle Po!
And just in case you missed out on any of the other photos we have put up until now, you can find a link to all of them here: LINK
annointed.jpg
“Annointed by an angry monk”, a photo by Po (uncle)

Musical Observations in Thailand

1. The most popular western band in Thailand is the Eagles
a. I have heard Hotel California more times in one week in Thailand than I did growing up in Southern California in the late 70s/80s
b. Thais singing Life in the Fast Lane at karaoke are no better at it than Japanese singing Country Road
c. Or, for that matter, Americans singing karaoke at all
2. The most popular band among Thai taxi drivers is Carabao
a. There is also an energy drink of the same name sold everywhere, one with a green label and a brown one marked XO
b. The one marked XO tastes like frog penis
c. Or at least what I imagine frog penis tastes like, you fags
3. Currently, the most overplayed music in the Chattuchak market stalls is Punjabi MC
a. Second is Linkin Park/Jay Z (Collision Course)
b. The only thing more annoying than overplayed Punjabi MC is the unmistakeable stench of shit that permeates certain areas of the market
c. Luckily, those areas do not include the deep fried pig stalls, which make the best deep fried pig in all of Thailand in my humble opinion
4. The violinist in the lounge of the the Fortune Hotel in Ratchada is tone deaf
a. Or maybe just never learned how to tune his shit
b. Or maybe just avant garde
c. Or maybe just hates his job and is fucking with everyone
5. Thai rap is fucking awesome
a. Now all they need is a Thai Flava Flav
b. With his clock set to “Thai time” (15 to 45 minutes late, depending on mood)
c. I saw a hooker who looked just like Terminator X walking down the street in a dress and high heels

Exchanging Dollars in Thailand

This is just a short topic I wanted to write down for future reference.
Anything older than the very newest US dollars can be a real pain in the ass to exchange in Thailand.
– I was flat out refused at one major bank and two exchange booths trying to exchange $100 bills.
– One bank had a note written on the window saying that US currency from 1990, 1993, 1996, and 2002 of any denomination, could not be accepted. (I suppose we have Kim “supernote” Jong Il to thank for that.)
– To determine if a note is real or counterfeit, the following procedure is used by the cashier:
1. Hold the bill up to ceiling light and squint at it for a while.
2. Straighten out the bill against the edge of the counter; reversely, if bill is new, crumple it up a bit and mumble something about it being “too old” or “too new.”
3. Call over the next cashier and let them squint at it against the ceiling light for a while.
4. Pass it under a UV lamp (presumably in case “COUNTERFEIT” has been stamped across it with lemon juice).
5. Call over the manager. He will take the bill and executively squint at it against the ceiling light for a while.
6. Test it with a counterfeit detecting pen.
7. Collectively squint at the bill against the ceiling light with every staff member in the bank, up to and including the branch president, and his pet poodle. Pretend you all know little details to look for like the booger in Andrew Jackson’s nose, etc., and have a little powwow about it.
8. Once you have cleared the first bill, start from step one to check any additional ones.

Thailand Wedding Video Update

I’m working on the wedding videos and learning new software (Adobe Premiere 2) at the same time, so bear with me. So far I’ve captured the 3 hours of footage that T took, and I’m waiting for delivery of another few hours from the videographer in Thailand. I will edit it and distribute on DVD to whoever asks for a copy… Meanwhile, here’s a test clip I made while playing around tonight:
interception20060320.jpg
(Left click image to play the video, or right click and choose “Save As”)
Well, she said she was gonna get it and she got it. What can I say.
Note: Sharp viewers will spot the obviously confused participant on the left side of the screen.

Custom TOTO


(click on image to enlarge)
This is, quite simply, the coolest urinal I have ever seen (and I have seen my fair share of urinals, son). This was located at the floating market located a couple hours from Bangkok, Damnoen Saduak, which was incidentally well worth the trip. A lot of people said it was a tourist trap so I was kind of wary at first, but all I can say is: Racing longtail boats down narrow canals! Monitor lizards basking in the sun! Awesome urinals!

Red Alert

If your name is Chris, and you are Chinese (and you are studying medicine in Chicago and dating my little sister), you need to see this:
Peanut Kiss Not Cause of Death for Quebec Girl
Why the coroner waited until now to reveal this news is unclear, as is the reason why the “test results” are taking so goddamn long. We should obviously not be expecting the hit show CSI:Quebec anytime soon, I am thinking.
Anyway, Chris is a real nice guy, but I suspect that’s more of a survival requirement than anything else, since people who he pisses off can get revenge by simply shooting him with Skippy-tipped bullets… And remember, all of you – I won the right (via rock-scissors-paper) fair and square to administer the Epi-pen shot, Vincent Vega style.

Knows Best

Would you take sleeping pills on your drive back home? It appears that some people do.
I can attest to the fact that Ambien works – I bummed one off my mom when we were in Bangkok, partly because I was all nerves and couldn’t sleep, and partly because I was curious. I can also attest to the fact that Ambien should not be used when drinking. “Don’t take it with alcohol,” my mom said. Of course, I took it with alcohol.
I woke up sometime in the early morning and puked on my pillow, very matter-of-factly. Like in a “I feel the need to regurgitate and shall do so, calmly, right here and now on this very pillow since I do not have the strength to go to the toilet” kind of way. Then I fell asleep again, face down.
I woke up the next morning with something dry and crusty matted in my hair and stuck to the side of my face. Nam was less than amused.
sometimes, mother knows best.

Knock-offs

I must say, the overall quality of knock-offs in Bangkok, or at least in the Patpong area, has dropped greatly in every area – bags, watches, clothes. There were a couple of decent items, as well as some nice “originals” (Prada greatcoats and Jaeger-styled IWC watches), but the rest of it was shit. We were all very unimpressed.
The most recent knock-off shopping I’ve gone besides Thailand was in Korea, and the quality of the stuff there was world-class, with very hagglable prices.

Thailand Wedding Photos

The wedding photos are up on flickr (it’s nice to be able to finally use my pay account to its fullest)!
Most of these were taken by my brother Adam (my sister Merin and I took a few as well).
Warning: These photos have not been culled (except for some on-camera) or edited, and there are THOUSANDS of them. Thumbnails for ALL of the photos load on a single page, so it will take several minutes to load in entirety. Just hit the link and let the page load for a while, or dig right in and start a loooong slideshow.
Morning Ceremony Photo Set
Evening Reception Photo Set
UPDATES:
Photos Taken at Wedding Studio
FIRST VIDEO CLIP!: Bouquet Toss! (Interception!)
Photos from my cousin Yumi (shutterfly)
Photos from Lek-san: Morning, Evening (Yahoo Photos)
Sakamoto’s Photo Set (on my flickr account)
Taro’s Photo Set (on my flickr account)
Photos from Uncle Po!
Hired photographer’s Morning (Wedding Ceremony) Photos
Hired photographer’s Night (Reception) Photos
2006 Trip to Thailand – Mika’s Photos
NEWEST UPDATES:
Michelle’s Photo Set
Dave’s Photo Set
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Anybody else who puts photos from the wedding online, let me know. I will continually update this post with your contributions!

Some Random Memories – Widespread Panic Edition

Note: There is no hope of remembering the whole trip in order, so my travelogue is going to be patterned after the trip itself – wildly chaotic, but hopefully enjoyable.
– The day before we left Bangkok to Nam’s hometown, the door of the safe in our room got stuck and refused to open. Contents: Both of our passports and airplane tickets, most of the dowry in cash and gold jewelry, our wedding bands, my camera, my laptop, my Omega, etc., etc., and just what in the hell do we do now. Several calls down to the front desk only to be assured that “someone was coming up right away” to fix it were not very assuring after a couple hours of no-show and repeated excuses. Nutty saved the day by threatening the pissant on the other end with Vigorous Blows to Cranium, as well as demanding to see the night manager. Five minutes later, the manager, the pissant, and a chubby safecracker dude bearing a bruteforce card-cabled-to-scanner device (just like the one Edward Furlong used to jackpot an ATM in Terminator 2) showed up at our door and got that sucker open. The problem, as described by Mr. Safecracker: “You crammed too much shit in there.” Yeah, well it’s hard choosing which of my pieces of shit (comp, camera, wedding ring display case, or watch) to leave exposed to the jackals, pal. Besides, I’m providing you with work, you little hacker nerd, so shut up.
– The day after the wedding, we chartered a double decker bus to take our group of fifty or so to Khon Kaen airport, where we would all board the same flight back to Bangkok. It was sweet, real sweet – a double decker bus! With an Orientalish Santa Claus airbrushed on the side! – but we encountered a problem that I, noob to the ways of double decker buses, never even considered. The bus was too tall to pass under the ceiling of the terminal building! Panic! Only an hour until our plane leaves! Panic! The great thing about Thailand, though – most everything is for hire if you ask nicely and offer compensation. We parked the bus in a parking lot adjacent to the terminal building and hired a nearby van to shuttle people in, and a pickup truck for the luggage. It took the pickup four or five trips – completely stuffed to the gills – to take all of the luggage to the departures curb (most of our group had never quite taken to the whole “travelling light” concept). I took the last van in, again with loyal friend Nutty by my side, sure we would be left on the runway watching the rest of our group fly off into the bright blue sky… Only to have to sit and wait for an hour because the plane was delayed.
– I made a previous reference to this, but it bears emphasizing: A speedhead taxi driver, in between spurts of almost killing us during his mad dashes between road hazards and battered trucks carrying fermented soy milk packaging, kept touching my forearm and telling me I could be a boxer and how he “like a man.” Panic! Finally, right after he finished telling me how he had two sons at home (note: quite disturbing after the Like a Man confession), tried to grab at my grointifical region! Luckily, I saw it coming a mile away and grabbed his wrist! He made another grab with his other hand! Can you say Runaway Taxi? The cab careened wildly down Soi Ratchada as we battled for possession of my testiculars! Suddenly, Nam came to my rescue and used her sandal straps to strangle the gayhomospeedheadcabbie-freak into unconsciousness, just as we plowed into the back of a tuktuk carrying a family of five from Munich!
Okay, not really.