Imagine my surprise at finding a supposed source for the new super-efficient LED bulbs made exclusively by Philips for UAE royalty (“exclusive,” as in, you can’t buy them anywhere else), invented to comply with government regulations. The redundant circuitry sounds exactly like what I need for my house here in the northeast, plagued with frequent overvoltage problems, which in turn necessitates frequent bulb replacement.
I kind of doubt the seller is legit, but I’m curious enough to try and buy a few.
“The Vietnamese call this insect cà cuống. It is a highly prized food and often boiled and fried whole.” LINK
Here in Thailand, it is called maeng da or malaeng da, and is mostly used ground up in chili paste called nam phrik or jaew bong. The pheromone that so famously attracts the females has a unique and powerful scent, unlike anything else I’ve ever experienced. Not unpleasant in and of itself, but very strong. I can eat it, but have never tried it raw… I found the one above freshly dead, in my driveway. It did not smell. It’s the only one I’ve seen in the wild, although they sell them live at the fresh markets and deep-fried at edible insect stalls.
Incidentally, maengda is also slang for “pimp” in Thai.
This is probably the coolest thing I’ve ever seen. I asked the guy who posted it to Twitter for more info, and he told me it’s from Iceland. If anybody knows anything else about it, please comment on this post.
Well it’s probably not a fruit (although there might be a smashed banana in there or something – I didn’t check), but mosquitoes seem to suck moisture from anything, including wet napkins… Click to see the entire Mosquitoes Eating Fruit Series.
This is one of my favorite things to have for breakfast in Thailand, because the majority of Thai breakfasts is one dish: Grilled pork skewers and sticky rice – which is awesome, but gets old day after day.
There used to be an old lady who made the best version of this in town, but she closed her shop a decade ago. The one pictured above was made at a nearby restaurant owned by the mother of one of Mina’s classmates that opened pre-COVID and subsequently shut down. It was OK, but very typically made with margarine instead of butter.
An egg pan, or pan eggs, typically go for about a dollar per pan and are served with a stuffed roll called khanom pan yuan, or literally, “gook bread.” “Yuan” is kind of an ethnic slur for Vietnamese in Thai.
After the old lady mentioned above closed her shop, I thought about opening a breakfast place that served this only just so I could eat it whenever I wanted – because this dish is too dirt cheap to make much money on, or even to make properly with real butter. Alas, I only eat this now when I go to Khon Kaen (where they have enough customers at established shops to keep open), or just make similar breakfast at home.
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.
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.”
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.