Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Friends don't let friends Karaoke!

There is a plague assaulting our fair society. It has a name....KARAOKE! How many times have you gone to your favorite watering hole, only to be tortured by some drunk hoosier yowling on a mic to bad midi music, while you're trying to chat up your favorite hottie waitress? This must stop!

We at the M.S.R.C.M.P. (MOBIIART SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH CENTER and MASSAGE PARLOR), have discovered a way to nip this foolishness in the bud. To see a demonstration of our exciting new breakthrough method of curing this disease, please visit us at Kill Karaoke!.

And by all means, please help support the effort by buying one of our t-shirts or other products at Kill Karaoke T's!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Buddhism is da bomb!

TOKYO, Japan (AP) -- Japanese monks and nuns held a fashion show - with rap music and a catwalk - at a major Tokyo temple Saturday to promote Buddhism.

In the "Tokyo Bouz (monk) Collection" held at Tsukiji Honganji, nearly 40 monks and nuns from eight major Buddhist sects joined in the event aimed at winning back believers. Following a rap version of a Buddhist sutra, five monks from each school walked on the runway, then chanted prayers and wrapped up in a grand finale with confetti resembling lotus petals.

"We wanted to show the young people that Buddhism is cool, and temples are not a place just for funerals," said Koji Matsubara, a chief monk at Tsukiji. Yet another reason why Japan is cooler than Thailand.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

More Strange Thai food

I hope to god that stands for homogenized!

Palmy the Loy Kratong Queen (almost)

We got a rather strange phone call from Roong's boss the other day. It's Loy kratong time here in Thailand. This is the festival where everyone gathers by the river to float little boats filled with incense, candles, and flowers, that drift away and take all the bad things that happened in the past year away.
Anyway, Kong called and said that there was a contest to choose the Loy kratong queen, and did we know any young ladies that he could enter as the Nong Bua representative. We asked our oldest daughter, Palmy, if she was interested. She said yes, and jumped on the next mini-bus home. The poor girl spent 9 hours at the beauty parlor getting fitted for her costume, makeup, and god only knows what else done to her. She weathered it all like a real trooper though. She didn't win the grand prize, but she was a vision of Thai beauty in her traditional costume, and had a great time doing it.
Oh, Pookie, the little girl in the photo is one of my students. Her older sister (the cow) was not only one of the other contestants, but she won (uber cow). Once I got her to understand why I was there, and who Palmy was, she responded by sticking her tongue out at me the entire time Palmy was speaking or dancing. I hope she won't have to much trouble explaining to her parents how her grade went from an A to a D overnight. Must be that Thai magic I hear so much about. Haaa!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Sunflower Children

Howdy. Not much going on these days. I have another 3 days off for fall vacation. I have been puttering about the house mostly. I just wanted to get a few pics of the sunflowers up. They start blooming here at the end of October. The tourists will start coming soon. It lasts for about 2 months. Last year we had too much rain, and the crop wasn't very good. This year looks to be better, but fewer farmers are planting them. There is more money to be made planting sugar cane, well, there was, until EVERYONE started planting sugar cane. Anyway, here is a few shots of Roong and I in the sunflower fields near our house.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Penpattana English Camp 2550 (Thai time)

Well, it seems we all survived English camp. I have to admit, it was a lot of fun. We took the Matayom 2 monsters to the Supalai resort. It's about 50km from here, out in the jungle. It is beautiful. Nice little bungalow type houses to stay in, lovely scenery, a pool, and good food.

We divided the 58 students into 4 groups, and made little passports for each group. They had to visit the 8 activities in 2 days and get a stamp. I came up with a word Othello game for them to play. I made 2 teams, and gave each team a word. They had to make a full sentence with that word, to receive a disc to put on the Othello board. I made a very large board that they could play with on the ground, and painted old CD's black and white to use as playing tiles. They seem to enjoy it and did pretty good at it. Other activities had them make posters of the trip, guess the mystery object in a box, and Roxanne's activity involved licking icing off of something. I didn't get a chance to see that one, but the possibilities boggle the mind. Haaaa!

In the evening of the first day there, the kids and some of the teachers put on a stage show. They did a sort of silly cowboy fashion show, to crown "Mr. & Ms. English Smart Camp". There was lots of singing and dancing, and the kids got pretty fired up. It was like a little concert. It seems you can't escape karaoke no matter where you go here. Yeesh!

I have photos, but blogger is being a putz and won't take them. I will add them later when it settles down. Seeya!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

I learning jawa!

Hi all. I am sorry I haven't been writing much lately, but we have been very busy. Roong's office has elections coming up, so all the big wigs are running about, wasting money, and making sure they are kissing the right asses. Which of course doesn't include the asses of all the little people that they squeezed their money out of to get there in the first place.
Palmy got her first term grades back from University. She took 3 classes and she got 3 A's. I had told her that if she got 4 A's, we would talk about getting her a car. That was apparently not enough motivation to take 4 classes. Haaa! Oh, "jawa" is "java" in Thai...I hope.

Life at school is a hoot. Every friday we have a meeting and discuss what we need to do. Every friday we say the same things, and every friday the boss nods his head and says "Yes Yes Yes", and every friday nothing has changed from the previous week. Sooo..I have been experimenting a bit. The problem is comprehension. If the kids can't understand something, they are not going to remember it. In this, I seem to have found my niche in life. Every week, I come up with a different way to try and accomplish this. Luckily, what I lack in experience, I more than make up with by being entirely too stubborn to give up. We are going to try a different tactic next term, but I still have 7 weeks to mess about and see if I can come up with something astounding.

Jan and I have been hired to help with an English camp up in Chaing Mai in October. It's 10 days of 2 day camps for some of the more elite schools in Bangkok. I am happy about this, because I can see what the rich folk are doing and expecting as far as their children's English language education is concerned. It also helps get me in good with those schools that would pay me more than double my current salary. Jan has a friend that is making over 75,000 baht a month teaching in Bangkok. He has offered both of us positions, and it is very very tempting. It would mean commuting on the weekends back up here to Pattananikom, but damn, that's a lot of money here.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

English Camp

A few weeks ago, Jan and I hosted a 2 day English Camp for the Wang Muang school in one of thlocal districts. It was the first time either of us had tried this, so we were a bit nervous. There was a few rough spots, but all and all, it went pretty well. Roong was there for the first day, to help translate some of the more complicated ideas. The students and the faculty there seemed pretty happy with the whole thing. We are hoping that word will get around about this, and other schools will ask us to do the same thing there.
In the second photo, on the left, you can see one of the girls sticking a white thing up her nose...that is like a vicks inhaler. The kids here are addicted to the stuff. All it does is open your nasal passages a bit for a few minutes. I guess they get a rush off of it, i dunno, but they all use them constantly. Who knows....

Masterpiece Theatre

The kids at school put on a play (La-korn). Like most of these things I have seen here, it all takes place in the king's court. Per the ususal, the princess is in love with the wrong guy, the king is sending him off to a battle that he can't win to get rid of him, the guy the king wants her to marry is a weasel, theres a few sword fights, yadda yadda yadda.....
The kids are a hoot to watch. They are major hams, but have a lot of fun doing these things. It isn't taken to serious, so they are great fun to watch. One of the girls in the office, Noy, took these photos.

Monday, June 18, 2007

2 Chics in a tree

We had a bit of excitement here this weekend. One of the locals discovered a "Takian" tree. The Thai people believe that a spirit resides in these trees. Here's the story..... It seems that the ground beneath this Takian tree eroded away, and it fell into the river. A local farmer spotted the tree and pulled it out. His plan was to cut the tree up into useful boards. But, when he pulled his saw across it, it bled. Yeah, red type people blood. He decided not to make boards after all. That night as he slept, a woman appeared in his dreams, and asked him not to destroy her home and to take her to the local Wat (temple). That was enough for him, and he did it. It turns out that there are 2 female spirits residing in this tree. The monks made a nice spirit house for them, and then had a big ceremony to ask the ladies to move into the spirit house, and to be at peace. We attended the ceremony. It was wild. Lots of music and chanting monks and all.
Oh, and then everyone went out and bought lottery tickets, because it was a lucky day! Haaaaa!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Palmy goes to University

This is the easiest way to sum this whole experience up...........
1. Dorm Room per month............... $3,600 bt
2. Clothes ......................................$7,000 bt
3. Tuition 1 yr ................................$86,000 bt
4. Having your odds on getting
into the bathroom when you
need to going from 25% - 33.3% ........Priceless !!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

A Dutchman, a Filippina, and an American walk into this bar....

This is that god awful billboard thing I told you about. Tep still can't figure out what color skin is supposed to look like apparently. This one is stuck up on the wall in front of the school. I don't know where the others are. Jan looks bright red, Roxy looks like she's going bald, and I look too damn fat!
School has started for kindergarteners now. I will start in about 2 weeks, but only with 2/3 of my classes. We are hoping that the rest will start on the 30th, but who knows. The rain is really slowing the construction crew down.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

A Priest, a Rabbi, and a Monk walk into a bar....

A priest , a monk and a rabbi were out for a day of fishing. After getting into the boat they had just pulled away from the dock when the rabbi said "stop the boat I forgot the coffee". The priest who was driving the boat said "I will turn around and take you back to the dock" and the rabbi said "oh no need I will be right back".

The rabbi quickly jumped out of the boat and ran across the water to shore and then to his car to fetch the coffee and then ran back across the water and got back in the boat.
Well the priest not wanting to be shown up by the rabbi said "oh my I forgot the sandwiches and quickly jumped out of the boat to attempt running across the water like the rabbi but instead sank quickly to the bottom of the lake.
With that the monk looked reproachfully at the rabbi and said "you really should have told him where the rocks were".

Monday, April 30, 2007

The Nong Bua Class

My first graduating class. These are the kids from Roong's Nong Bua district. They were a good bunch, and tried very hard. There were a few more than this, but we lost a few because either their school started, or they had to work in the family business. From left to right, top to bottom, their names are Kan, Mew, Hmo, Tao, Nan, Bres, Ohm - Pond, Ray, Boss, Kim, Ploy,Nook, Kwaung, and New.
We made a little certificate for them, and had cake and soda on the last day. Kong presented the certificates, and Poon took photos of them all. Everything seemed to go very well. I hope I can teach them all again next spring break.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

We are losing our favorite Ka-turi!

It's been kind of quiet around here the past few weeks. They are still working on the school, and I will probably start teaching there June 1st. They swore it would be ready on time, but the boss finally accepted reality. I asked him what he was going to do about the 2 weeks of class that the clients have already paid for, but won't be getting. He just looked at me, and in a very quiet voice said "I no have plan". Haaaaa! I am sure he will figure it out.
The photo above is of our favorite waitress at "Long Bia". Her name is "Thong", and yes, that is a man's name. And yes, her voice is just a tad deeper than one might expect from a small Thai girl. She's a hoot. She likes to raise fish, and has dreams of going to beauty school, and being a hair dresser. She and Roong yak away for hours about all kinds of things. I have no idea what they are saying most of the time. I just keep an eye peeled in case they both look at me and give me that slow, menacing, head nod. This of course means they are gossiping me, or men in general. When I see this, I know to look suitably humble, and to ask about the weather or something.
Anyway, Thong is leaving. She is changing to a different establishment. We will probably start going there. She says the music and the crowd is a bit older, so we might enjoy it more. The 2 bands that play at Long Bia are ok, but it has been almost a year, and they still haven't figured out how to balance their sound worth a damn. But that's ok, because anything is better than the non-stop karaoke at Bannok (geez that stuff is horrible). I think Thong said she will change places next week, so we will see what the new place is like then.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

No. 1 on Google!

This Dzi Stone and Thai Phra thing seems to be working. Who knew? I now rank no. 1 , 2, and 7 On google searches! Yayyyyy! Except for the fact that I have only sold $1.73 worth of stuff so far, I am doing ok with this. Yeesh! I am averaging several hundred clicks a week now on those two sites. My Squidoo guru says that it is the way my pages are layed out. She is busy with a contest, and writing a book now, so I am waiting for my next lesson. I like learning about the Dzi stones and the Phra, so it's still a lot of fun. I also have access to a lot of information, that most people don't, because of where I live. I will keep at it.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Roong's Buddhism 101

Lesson 1: "Life is not nearly as complicated as you are making it"...
The other day, Roong and I were driving into Soi Sip Song to get lunch. As we drove, I noticed a Monk walking down the side of the road, a very common sight here. As I watched him, he gracefully avoided a small puddle in his path as he was walking. Seeing this, prompted me to ask Roong, if she thought it had rained in Soi Sip Song recently. Without looking up, or missing a beat she replied, "I don't know, was the monk wet?"

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Another great Thai plan...Haaaaa!

Ok, here's the latest on the school. They are adding on about 20 rooms to the school I will be teaching at. They have 6 weeks left. They don't even have the roof framing on yet. There is no way it will be finished. I had to go there today and have my photo taken with Jan, and Roxanne. It seems we will get to be on a billboard or two in the area. I am sure they see it as great advertising for the school, but it makes me feel like they are opening a farang petting zoo.
Anyway.... these shots are of the school add-on in progress, the boss and his wife, Roxanne, and Jan.
*Update: I guess I shouldn't complain about the billboard. We have 4 new students at our little school as a result of it. I will try and get a photo of it. It looks hideous! Haaaa!

Friday, March 23, 2007

When did "Badminton" become a sport????

Who, on god's green earth would ever consider badminton a sport? They take this thing verrrry seriously over here! Roong's Office sponsored a tournement between the offices. So naturally I had to go. Yeesh! I tried to get out of it, but I didn't have much choice. Roong's boss Kong was there. He used to be good at this game, but blew his knee out. I think it was a freak "shuttlecock" accident (SMIRK). Anyway. He's still pretty quick at it. The only thing worse than playing this sissy game, is getting whooped at it by your wife's injured boss (who still owes me for a decal I designed for his truck!!!!) .

Roong made it quite clear that I was not allowed to add "full contact" into the game plan. I did get to sit in the comfy chairs with the local parliment rep tho. That wasn't so bad. And I admit that there were a number of cuties scampering about on the courts. That was even less bad.

Roong has just been promoted to C-7, so there was a bit of attitude going on between the contestants. I didn't know that Buddhism came with "in yer face!" victory poses, but it seems it does. Anyway, Roong and Taa ended up placeing 4th overall. I hope for her sake, there were more than 4 teams playing. I couldn't tell.

The worst of this is that now Roong has decided she misses playing, and wants me to play twice a week. She says it will be very good for me if I play, and very bad if i don't. I am not sure she is concerned with my health here. ACK!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Goodbye Karaoke!

Steve and Joom have to go back to the U.K. for a month. Joom has to renwe her dual-citizenship visa, soooooooooooo Steve and I hit Bannok for a goodbye beer, and just to bitch about living in Thailand. Peter stopped by, which was great, because we don't get to see him often. Peter is from the U.K., and is kind of the local veterinarian. We did it on Monday, because there is this group of women that sneak off early every monday, and go to Bannok to get a bit wild. They love to sing and act silly, until about 4pm, when their husbands show up, and then it's back to the stone faced Thai thing. Also, we got the only known existing photo of Yui (she's the cute on in the white apron)! Thai's are a bit camera shy sometimes, but Yui is scared stiff of having her photo taken. The other girl is Baw, and that is Oy in the pink apron. Ead's dad was on hand to keep us out of trouble, Haaaaaa!

Friday, March 02, 2007

The Family Crest

Lately, to keep from going nuts, I have been digging into the family name a bit. I got into the Missouri census birth/death records back to almost 1900. I have found a few things (maybe), but nothing concrete. I am now waiting for some e-mail responses off of Brand family web pages and such. While I was waiting, I tried to design a family Coat of Arms that captured the real me. I like it, but Roong says there's no F'ing way she will let me paint this on the front door. Haaaa!
( She liked it better than the Velveeta wrestling and zuccinni jousting tournament idea though.)

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Edward Livingston-Blade

As many of you know, I have a friend on Mirc named Barking_Frog (Edward Livingstone-Blade). He is a writer, with a trilogy under his belt, and now a comic book series underway. I am posting the banner for the series, and will add a paragraph describing it, as soon as the frawg gets off his ass and writes one for me. Aha!!! here it is.....

"The Man Who Wasnt There" is the story of Geoffrey Mearn: hero, criminal, sometimes-mendicant, and former President of the United States.His world is a reality that has run in loose parallel with our own, but anaccelerated space program -- driven in part by competition with a SovietUnion that never fully collapsed -- has brought the major world powers to thedoorstep of manned space exploration beyond their own moon.With Mearn in the role of unwitting catalyst, events are forcing togetherseveral dissonant powers, formerly operating only in the shadows of society.As they face off, violence is inevitable, and the civilized world will betheir battleground. When the field is cleared, what -- if anything -- willremain?
For more info on this riveting new comic and the man behind the story, writer Edward Livingston-Blade, head to The Man Who Wasn’t There

Thursday, February 15, 2007

What a week!

We got to see the governor last night. Roong and I went to Long Bia for valentines day last night. After about an hour or so, the police showed up and started carding people. Seems they were looking to get rid of the underagers in there. Then the Governor of Lopburi came in. I am not sure what he was up too. One of his flunkys stopped and talked to us for a few minutes. He said the Gov was touring Restaurants and hotels that night. Whatever.
The other day, a few kids wanted to interview me while we were having lunch. They just asked a few basic questions. It had something to do with school. This photo was taken then.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Roong's night out

Roong had never been out to a club to hear live music. I found that hard to believe. But it seems it's true. I took her to this club in Lopburi called "Loung Bia". It means beer house, or something close to that. They have a solo live guitarist from 7-9pm, and then a full band gets up there. One very nice thing about Thai performers. They don't take breaks. These guys played 3 solid hours. I have been there a few times before with Tep and Bun. I am a bit tired of going to Bannok, so something new was in order. The music was good, and as always, they tried to do a few songs in English....EWWW! the Chic that sings is a hoot. When ever she see's me, she says "Someone buy the farang a leo! At first, that irritated me a bit, but the free beer has calmed my nerves. Haaaa!!! Anyway, a good time was had by all. The photos didn't come out very well from Roong's cell phone. This one is of me and my favorite waitress Ahm. I may have to stalk her :D