The shirt collar needs work, but hey, that’s straight out of my nightmares!
These little guys probably have a survival rate of 1 in a thousand or so. They can sprint for short spurts, but are easy prey for predators like birds and cats. I let them stay in the house, but they scare Nam for some reason.
I’m currently in a state of being extremely busy juggling things like preparing for a new school term, managing a botched house extension, getting our main car repainted, moving a metric ton of dirt the workers we fired (from previously mentioned house extension job) left on the street in front of our house with the only Radio Flyer I’ve ever seen in Thailand, getting diphtheria/tetanus boosters because I gouged my leg on my rusty barbecue grill, replacing a temporary crown on my tooth with a permanent one, running around to every home improvement shop in town to find the correct angle grinder attachment/vinyl flooring sheets/ceiling hangers, etc.
Here is a shot of the best khao tom I’ve had all year, up in the mountains, on break from performing Okinawan music to Northeastern Thais.
Also, we miss Max and have decided not to bring him back on a repatriation flight to face 2 week quarantine by himself, and instead wait until we can go get him (intl flights are still not allowed into Thailand) safely.
Cruising Van Nuys Boulevard In The Summer Of 1972 In Stunning Black And White Photos By Rick McCloskey
This culture was pretty much gone when I grew up in SoCal. These photos were taken a couple years before I was born, but I feel a deep connection to them every time I see my driveway.
Teaching online has been a side hustle for 10+ years and I’ve taught a few workshops along the way, so I get asked about the best platform a lot recently: Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or Google Meet?
So after testing and teaching classes this summer on all three, I can say that Google Meet is the best for a university teacher in Thailand.
This is based on performance, security, ease of use (for both teacher and student), and features. Price did not really factor into this decision, because my employer enabled free access to Meet and Teams. I will say that the 40-minute limit on free Zoom account meetings probably affects many.
Google Meet (basic but reliable) > Zoom (dumb 40 min. limit) > Microsoft Teams (uh… better suited for business?)
BONUS TIDBIT: Google Meet can now show many (max. 16) people on the grid, one of the last advantages Zoom (max. 49) had over it (Microsoft Teams is still at 4).
Pages like this one and this one and this one got me interested in the cold war antenna array known as the “Elephant Cage.” It was built by the US military in Udon Thani province, northeast Thailand, at an air force base used for signals intelligence back in the day, and suspected of housing a CIA black site in more recent years (although it is now apparently a mushroom farm/museum open to the public). Wikipedia describes the Elephant Cage as thus:
The AN/FLR-9 is a type of very large circular “Wullenweber” antenna array, built at eight locations during the cold war for HF/DF direction finding of high priority targets. The worldwide network, known collectively as “Iron Horse”, could locate HF communications almost anywhere on Earth. Because of the exceptionally large size of its outer reflecting screen (1056 vertical steel wires supported by 96 120-foot towers), the FLR-9 was commonly referred to by the nickname “Elephant Cage.”https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AN/FLR-9
None of the Elephant cages exist anymore, although parts of the one in Udon might still be found around town, if local stories are to be believed. I just wanted to compile all of the photos I’ve bookmarked in a single post.
Oh, and yes, their school is abbreviated as “MUDS.” They all wear athletic shirts that say MUDS on their backs once a week on “sports uniform” days.
Over at the Bangkok Post, I just stumbled upon the reason why Play Bar, De Loft, and Image club in Maha Sarakham shut down at the same time a few years ago – they got busted for serving minors: 11 pubs ordered closed for 5 years in Maha Sarakham
One day, Play Bar was just gone. Like, knocked down and smashed into rubble. We heard the guys running it opened another place, but it just didn’t have the same history as Play Bar… That was one of the first chill outdoor places here, and it all started less than ten years ago. Now there’s twenty places like that.
Little things like this still blow my mind every day in this country – it’s part of the charm.
Fortune telling is still a huge part of the culture, and for some reason, tarot cards seem to be getting very popular from what I see online.
She’s older than all the others combined, and will probably still be running after they have all gone.
This is my parking lot at work. Our building used to be the administration building, which is why we have a flag pole in front. A military reservist comes to raise and lower it every day.
Last year, my trusty Citizen fell casualty to careless banging on steel door handles when rushing out of classrooms, so I decided to replace it with something a little more fun.
I like it so far.
This is a regional delicacy for the everyday people. I am perfecting the chili, tamarind, and toasted rice dipping sauce. The pork is fine.
These are actually the most popular type of tourist attraction in Maha Sarakham, after dark at least. During the day, I would say SermThai Plaza shopping mall wins first prize.
It takes me so long to put things up on this blog these days. There’s posts I’ve been wanting to publish for more than a decade lol. Anyways, since another trip to Khon Kaen is coming up either tomorrow or this weekend, I wanted to put up some more photos of another back in August.
I threw together a bunch of leftovers and it turned out real fine… Pon Yang Kham beef is the best in Thailand, from a Thai/French cattle hybrid. It will never be world class, but it’s the best of what’s available in Thailand.
Tropical Storm Podul (North Korean for “willow”) has been dumping on us since around midnight and I spent the day trying to prevent everything we own from being flooded including vehicles, property, and cats, as well as preparing to sign a lease for our new juku and organizing teaching materials for a seminar at a vocational college in Roi Et city tomorrow (which just got postponed until next week).
The highway we were supposed to take:
The area we were supposed to go:
A new skyscraper being built in the shape of a wot (alt spelling: wode; the circular pan flute of Isan):
The newly-created Roi Et Coast Guard station:
And finally, a common sight in the countryside that always brings a smile to my face:
That’s the road to Max and Mina’s school, a couple minutes from our house on the old Maha Sarakham University campus. Nam also found a big pla salit (gourami) stranded in our driveway, and I pushed his armored side along until he could swim back down into the flooded street. When she told a friend about this when we went shopping later in the day, he asked quite seriously why we hadn’t eaten it!
Note: Most of the photos on this page are borrowed from social media and were forwarded multiple times before I used them here. Please let me know if you’d like attribution.
It’s quite possible this is an alternate spelling of “Nick.” But somebody should talk to them about it. Maybe their website is a bit more low key? Nope.