Sunday, December 31, 2006

Skul Nooz

Our little school is still chugging along. I think basically it is a practice arena for me, but they still seem to be learning. We lost a few students when regular school started, but we will get them back over the next break in March and and April. I finally landed a real teaching gig at a local private school. It's called "Pen Pattana", which means "Moon writing", or something. It's named after the owners Mom. I don't start until May, but I have a contract (which doesn't mean squat here)and all, so I am hoping it will happen. I met with them twice, and taught a class with them watching. All went well. As always, we will see.

Friday, December 22, 2006

New houses and mushroom farms

Hi again. I got a few new shots of Ead and Nan's new house in progress. I also got a few pics of them, and their son Ice. The house is looking great. They have 3 stories set up and the roof on it. Ead's dad says we should open a mushroom farm (No, not THOSE kind of mushrooms). I asked Ead if we could build a few mushroom houses on the Bannok property...was the first time I have ever heard her growl. Haaaa! That's ok, Big daddy and I will be mushroom kings!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

The Shop

I thought i would put a few pics up of the shop. That's Dea sitting on the floor making a sign. Tik is in there too somewhere, but you can't see her. I think she was making more sunflower things to sell at the dam. That's my desk, where i spend most of my time messing about.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Small town girl makes good...

We finally recieved an e-mail from Poy. Poy is Ead and Nan's niece. She is a real sweatheart, and very good at speaking English. She left a few weeks ago for Boulder, Colorado. She is going to be a nanny. The host family has 2 kids that are both under 3 yrs old I think. Poy says she likes her new job, and is having a good time. I think this is the first time she has gotten to see snow. She said that the family has a second home in Vail. I see a ski bunny in the making! :)

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Birthdays at Ban-nok

Quite a week this week. We bought a computer and a heavy duty printer and went into business with Tep. Tep is a wizard with Photoshop and is teaching me everything he can. We are making just small things so far, like address labels, business cards, etc. We spend most of the time trying to figure out how the new equipment works. Anyway.....
We had 3 birthdays this month. Mine, Roongs, and Tik's (Tep's wife). We all met up at Ban-nok and had a bit of a celebration. Other friends showed up as well. Steve, Kong (Roong's boss), A, Poon, and a few others. A good time was had by all. Tep and Roong even got on the karaoke stage and sang a few songs.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Sunday, November 12, 2006


I hate Norton I hate Norton I hate Norton I hate Norton I hate Norton I hate Norton I hate the Yankees I hate Norton I hate Norton I hate Norton I hate Norton I hate Norton I hate Norton I hate Norton I hate Norton!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(Daughters! Internet! Downloads! Virus Virus Virus Virus....ACK!!!!!!!!!!!)

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Spider wars!!!!

I have been playing only the 4-suit spider now. No more easy stuff. I won 7 out of the first 25 or so games I played. Pretty damn spiffy, if I do say so myself, and I do. But then I lost the next 286 games straight. Talk about a bad streak...yeesh! I tried everything, nothing seemed to break the slump. But finally this morning in the weeeee hours, I tossed in a Godzilla movie and got SERIOUS!!!!.
If a 240 ft tall lizard with a bad attitude and death breath doesn't inspire you, then nothing will (allthough the 9 pepsis might have been a factor). Anyway, I won 2 in a row. That's a first. I think it was a kharma thing tho. I didn't build any kind of shrine to the Cardinals for winning the world series. Who knows?

Things you need to know!

Why the heck does lighting a match get rid of ...umm..."bathroom" odors? Well...

When a match is struck, it produces sulfer dioxide, a "very pungent substance, to which the smell receptors are extremely sensitive." MadSci explains, "You can smell a minute amount of sulfur dioxide, but when you have done so, you will not smell anything else for a while." So, the match doesn't really get rid of the odor -- it just covers it up. This seems the most likely explanation, but MadSci presents a few other possibilities, including "oxidation of smelly substances in the flame" and "absorption of smelly substances onto the smoke." Take yer pick!

See? Not only is this blog breathtakingly beautious, it's also educational, and has only half the calories of a quarter pounder with cheese!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Loy Kra-tong

We had another festival tonight. This one was called "Loy Kra-tong". Thousands of people went to the lake at the dam for this. Everyone makes or buys these little boats that are made of a variety of different things. They can be made from banana leaves, wood, flowers, or even bread. The little boats carry flowers, candles, and incense. We also put a small amount of money, a few strands of hair, or even finger nail clippings. Anything that will grow back. You go to the waters edge, and pray with your boat. then you let it go in the water. The idea is that the boat will take all the bad things that have happened to you and sail off with them, so you will have a good year. It happens on the full moon of this month. The pictures didn't come out that great, but it was a very nice evening.

And now for the near death news...

Speaking of funerals....Last night Roong and I met Thep and his wife Tik at a new restaurant near the dam in Roong's district. It's a steak house, which of course I couldn't resist. We also met a couple that are old friends of Theps, there names are Ping and Nicki. They are very nice people. They were camping near the damn. It was beautiful there. The temp was maybe 75 degrees, and there was a nice breeze blowing in off the water. But enough about them, I almost died dammit!!! We were at the table in the restuarant having a few beers, talking, and chowing down. The problem was, I was doing all that at the same time. A piece of steak got caught in my throat. I didn't panic, and took a drink to try to get it to move. That didn't work, and I started making this soft hiccuping noise. I thought I would freak out, but i didn't when i realized what was happening, and that I may choke to death, I was quite calm. Everything went into this slow motion mode. It wasn't scary, it just was. Just as I turned away from the table, Roong popped me on the back, and the steak came out. Yet another reason to love her. I know it sounds a bit dramatic to say i could have died, but that's what ran through my head. All the mistakes, regrets, and unrealized dreams softly rolled through my brain in that 30 seconds. Was a strange experience to say the least. It took a bit to explain to the restaurant owner that i was ok, and it wasn't the steaks fault! Anyway, today just seemed a bit sunnier, Roong seemed a bit prettier, and I was very happy to see my students in class today :)


Howdy again. We just got back from a funeral. Actually, we went yesterday and today. Yesterday was the funeral, and today was the ceremony before the cremation. It was very interesting to watch. many friends and family gathered there. There were several monks that chanted for about a half hour. Lots of flowers and such around the casket. The casket looked like a large jewelry box. It was white and covered with brightly colored mosaics. At todays ceremony, we listened to a speaker for a bit, then there was music. the music was mostly from two instruments. The first is like a xylophone, but it is on a large brightly colored wood frame that is shaped like a crecent moon. The other instrument looks the same, except it is a bunch of small wooden circles that make different soft "ploomp" sounds when struck with a little mallet. Afterwords, there was fireworks. These are supposed to help guide the departing soul to the afterlife. Everyone watched that very carefully. I soon found out why. The fireworks are homemade. Part of this envolves a half a coconut shell. So when the firework exploded a few hundred feet in the air, half a coconut came hurtling down at you. Everyone just casually moved a few feet in one direction or the other if there was any incoming. There was a photographer there, but we didn't take any photos. Sorry about that, but it didn't seem right. Seeya!

Odds and ends...

Hi again. These are just a few photos we found in the cameras, cell phones, and whatever else. Aren't those yellow shorts sexxxxxy!!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Ead and Nan's New Home

Our friends Ead and Nan, that own the Ban-nok, are building a new home. It's a few hundred feet into the trees from where the restaurant is. They bought two very old houses up north, and are using the wood and logs from those to build it. Nan showed me a drawing of the front of the house, but the actual floor plan is in his head. It will be a mixture of traditional Thai, and a western log cabin. The photos are of the ceremony they had to bless the house as they put the first pillar in. The ceremony is called "Sow-Eag" This envolves friends, family, food, a monk, and a lot of string. I am not sure when the house will be finished, but I think Nan said about 6 months.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Strange Pets

Ya see that big bug tethered to the sugar cane log? That's a Thai Rhinoceros Beetle. It seems they are quite a business here. They appear in the late summer months to mate, and munch the crap out of the farmers coconut, banana, and pineapple crops. The farmers aren't pleased, but everyone else is. The locals stage fights with them. Don't worry though, no one gets hurt. What they do is this. They get a sugar cane log, and dig a hole in it, and put a female in there. Then they put two males on the log, and they start pushing each other to get to her. The one that falls off, or gets tossed out of the way is the loser. They have these little sticks with metal rings on them. You spin these between your fingers, and the rings make a "zzzurzzzurzzzurz" sound. The beetles react to the different sounds made. Trained bugs!! Who knew? Anyway, alot of money gets put on these matches. It's quite the event in august and september. I told Roong i thought that was a hoot, and would like to have one. I was joking...but 2 days later, one of the farmers in her district brought me 6 of them!!!! Haaaaa. Mine aren't as big as the one in this photo, but there are many different species. I will try and get a pic of them and add it to this blog tomorrow. They are supposed to die off after the fall mating, so i am not sure how long they will last. They locals treat them like pets, and it's quite normal to be chowing down at one of the outside restaurants, and have one sitting by his owners plate having a bit of lunch too. They are so big, they don't really seem like insects. More like little wind up toys. they aren't aggressive, they just ponder along. They do make a very loud hissing sound if irritated, and that can be a bit unnerving at first. They can fly too, but don't seem to be very willing to do it. That's all for now. I did get pretty bombed with my friend Steve at a pet shop the other night, but thats a story for another day ( Hi Mai!). Haaaaa!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Don's English Home opens.....

What a day! Our little classroom opened up today. We had 3 classes, with a total of 14 children. A few more may show up on wednesday though. We tried to divide them up by their skill level. I think we have them pretty well sorted out. The youngest ones are first, then the intermediate, then the kids that really just need to practice speaking. Roong took the day off work to be there to help. She did alot of translating at the beginning of each class. Once the kids understood most of the basic commands, then we seemed to do pretty well. Roong won't be there on wednesday, but i am hoping Palmy will be close by just in case. most of the kids are From Roongs district, but i do know a few of them. The 12 yr old in the black and white stripes is Ead's daughter Earth. The 11 yr old in the same photo, that has the yellow shirt is her sister Art. The other two girls are named Oon and Ice. At the picnic table, that's Pim and Boom in front. Roong's niece Bing is just to the left of them. That is Lang on the right, and Gino,Man, and Nat in the back. There was another class, but i will have to get photos on Wednesday, when the rest of the kids show up. I think there will be 1 or 2 more.
Adjusting to their differnt abilities was hard. They are wonderful children, and quick to learn. I hope i can do the same..Haaaaa!