Thursday, December 10, 2009

Possibly Published

I received an email from a woman named Anna from Frontiers magazine. Their magazine and website deal with neuroscience or some such brainy type things. She apparently stumbled across an impressionistic type artwork I did last year called "Sunset on Age". She wanted to know if I would be interested in submitting the artwork for possible use. This sounded like a good plan so I sent it to her immediately, if not sooner. She says they will decide on the final artworks that will be in the issue at the end of February, so keep your fingers crossed.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The USA Invades Thailand!

I received an interesting e-mail from my brother Rob last week. It basically said "We will land in Bangkok in 2 days. Be ready." After the initial excitement of seeing some family after 3 years settled down a bit, we began wondering what the heck to do. Bangkok is huge. There are 17 million people running about there, and they all like to drive (badly) at the same time. Anyway, Rob and Lauren got in late, so they stayed at a hotel the first night. Roong, Palmiez, and I chartered a mini-van and set off to find them early the next morning.....

Roong came up with the idea of visiting a small city in a neighboring province that is basically a little Thailand. It is shaped like the country and has all for major areas represented there. It has little shops and restaurants that give tourists an idea of what each area has to offer. This turned out ok. It was the middle of the week, so it was not crowded, but many of the shops and restaurants weren't open. Still, there were some interesting things to see. We spent a lot of our time trying to dodge tour buses full of noisy students.

I am not sure when the last photo of us together was taken. I think Rob said the only existing photo of all 3 of us together is that god awful photo of us as kids, wearing those 60's striped pants and zipper front shirts (Never let your grandma buy clothes for you). This shot was taken somewhere in Lopburi.

This shot of Roong, Palmiez, and I was taken at the ancient Siam city. They have a few small shrines from the different provinces. Rob said that he had had a knee surgery not too long ago. It was nice to know that I was not the only one creaking as they went to kneel on the floor.

The dudes and their daughters. Of course everyone is giving the mandatory little Asian girl peace sign thingy. Soooo creative (NOT!). After we wandered around the village, we headed over to the Hard Rock Cafe, so Rob and lauren could get a few t-shirts and shot glasses. It was only a few minutes away from the hotel that they were staying in according to the map. This did not, however, take in to concideration our fearless mini-van driver.

The problem with hiring the guy from our town to drive was that he only knew a few places in Bangkok. Most of which are on the main highway in. He spent most of his time chattering on the phone getting directions. He had to turn around a few times, but all in all, he did ok. Bangkok is huge and the traffic is rugged, there is just no way to get anywhere quickly.

Once that was all taken care of, we headed back to Pattananikom. Rob and Lauren stayed at "Bannok". That was nice. The rooms are clean, and the place is friendly. Ead even had breakfast for them the next morning. We sat, had a few beers, and talked for quite a while until jet lag, and the 12 hours we spent riding around in that goofy mini-van slowly won out over us. I don't think anyone had trouble sleeping that night.

The next day we met for lunch and just relaxed a bit more. We decided to try and make one more stop before we headed to the airport. Lopburi is kind of on the way, and has some interesting things to see.

One of the true highlights of the day was Lauren and the monkeys. This ancient structure is in the center of old Lopburi. There used to be many of these set up all over Thailand. Roong says that they were little Wats, or temples. I imagine they were quite beautiful in their glory days.

Now, the monkeys have decided that they own it. It has been fenced off, but the monkeys still travel wherever they want to in Lopburi. You can buy little bags of sunflower seeds to feed the monkeys, and one of the locals, armed with a slingshot, will help keep them under control. The little buggers will steal anything they can get their hands on.

This isn't the best photo of Lauren and the monkeys, but to see that one, you will have to ask her. Haaaa!

After this, we headed for the airport. I had not driven to the new airport before, so this was interesting. We made it there on time, only to find out that there United ticket counter was closed, and would not open until the next morning. This meant that Rob and Lauren had to grab a hotel near by for 6 hours or so. Anything near the airport is expensive to the point of being ridiculus. But there was nothing else to do.

I was a little worried because Roong and Palmiez were so quiet during all this. They can be shy at times, but both can speak English. They both started to loosen up a bit near the end. They were so worried about being accepted. Everyone seemed to get along just fine. Roong is already planning what to do when they come back. I heard about this for every single second on the 3 hour trip back home. Haaaa!

It was great to see family again. I hope that they can come back soon. Next time we can head down to Pattaya and hang out by the beach. Beer and seafood always works. I would like to get up to Chiang Mai to see the mountain villages and the flower festival, but it's 11 hours away. I think they do have an airport though. We will see.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Mobii Gets Swine Flu Fever!

It's just sad when people try to cash in on the misery of others, isn't it? It's not so sad if you actually do make some cash though. These are my latest contributions. See the rest on my Redbubble site.

Health Dept. Update


If you receive an email from the 'Department of Environment & Health' saying not to eat tinned pork because of swine flu, just ignore's SPAM!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Helpful Post Office Tips....

My, my, my, what an interesting Friday we had here. I had just finished the first week of the new school year. I was drained, but pleased with the results of my new lesson plan. As I was leaving work, I got a phone call from Roong, asking me to meet her at the post office. I assumed that there was a registered letter, or some other such thing that I needed to sign for. No big deal, so off I went.

*Flashback* Last week, during an email to my Dad, I recall him saying that he was going to cut the grass that day. I remember saying that although I didn't miss cutting the grass, I did miss having a yard. Please keep this in mind as the story continues. Back to Friday.....

Upon my arrival at the post office, I notice my wife having what looks to be a very serious discussion with several men, most of which are in uniform and armed (guns out). When they saw me, things got very quiet, very quickly. The guy with the most medals snapped something off to the postal clerk, and motioned for me to go to him. He had an opened manila envelope in his hand, and proceeded to withdraw and hand me the one page letter inside. The note was a message from dad, reminding me of the grass email conversation we had the week before. Please remember, that I am the only one present with the ability read the note. After reading the letter, I looked at everyone like, "Ok, so what?". At which time the postal clerk dumped the rest of the contents of the envelope on the counter.

Dad had sent me a bunch of cut grass, as a joke. let's think about this. What would happen if I sent about 2 ounces of dried green leafy stuff through the mail to the USA? Yup, the same thing. They were not amused. They asked me if it was marijuana. I told them I wasn't sure, and that if he would chase me up a pipe real quick, I would be happy to find out. They were still not amused. I explained what it was to Roong, who in spite of the seriousness of everyone else started giggling. She in turn explained it to the police. After a while, and much contents sniffing, they finally believed us, and we were allowed to leave. But, not without getting a severe lecture that luckily, I didn't understand a word of. And, the bastards kept my grass! There is no doubt in my mind that those clowns either tried to smoke it, or sell it within 15 minutes.

So, there you have it. Proof positive that you should "Just say NO", and shouldn't send grass through the mail. And Dad, a bit of Thai trivia, they can literally shoot you on the spot for drug dealing here, and next time, send the ganja to my school address, they never search educational material!

Monday, May 11, 2009

The Answer

On the first day, God created the dog and said:

'Sit all day by the door of your house and bark at anyone who comes in or walks past. For this, I will give you a life span of twenty years.'

The dog said: 'That's a long time to be barking. How about only ten years and I'll give you back the other ten?'

So God agreed.

On the second day, God created the monkey and said:

'Entertain people, do tricks, and make them laugh. For this, I'll give you a twenty-year life span.'

The monkey said: 'Monkey tricks for twenty years? That's a pretty long time to perform. How about I give you back ten like the Dog did?'

And God agreed.

On the third day, God created the cow and said:

'You must go into the field with the farmer all day long and suffer under the sun, have calves and give milk to support the farmer's family. For this, I will give you a life span of sixty years.'

The cow said: 'That's kind of a tough life you want me to live for sixty years.. How about twenty and I'll give back the other forty?'

And God agreed again.

On the fourth day, God created humans and said:

'Eat, sleep, play, marry and enjoy your life. For this, I'll give you twenty years.'

But the human said: 'Only twenty years? Could you possibly give me my twenty, the forty the cow gave back, the ten the monkey gave back, and the ten the dog gave back; that makes eighty, okay?'

'Okay,' said God, 'You asked for it.'

So that is why for our first twenty years we eat, sleep, play and enjoy ourselves. For the next forty years we slave in the sun to support our family. For the next ten years we do monkey tricks to entertain the grandchildren. And for the last ten years we sit on the front porch and bark at everyone.

Life has now been explained to you.

There is no need to thank me for this valuable information. I'm doing it as a public service.

*Thanks Dee!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Grass Chairs

Is this brilliant, or what? Get ready for summer by growing your own grass chairs! Instead of wasting hours trying to decide on which matching lawn furniture set to buy, why not let nature do its job by letting it grow eco-friendly organic grass chairs for your backyard while you wait? No more of the annual scraping and painting. Now, all I need is a yard!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

I am looking forward to retirement

Working people frequently ask retired people what they do to make their days interesting.
Well, for example, the other day my wife and I went into town and went into a shop.
We were only in there for about 5 minutes. When we came out, there was a cop writing out a parking ticket.
We went up to him and said, 'Come on man, how
about giving a senior citizen a break?'

He ignored us and continued writing the ticket. I called him a Nazi turd. He glared at me and started writing another ticket for having worn tires.
So my wife called him a shit-head. He finished the second ticket and put it on the windshield with the first. Then he started writing a third ticket. This went on for about 20 minutes. The more we abused him, the more tickets he wrote.

Personally, we didn't care. We came into town by bus. We try to have a little fun each day now that we're retired. It's important at our age.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Teacher's License Update

Well, although it's still a bit gloomy where this is concerned, we did find some new info. With a letter from my school, I can get another 2 year extension. I have to keep taking those damn tests though to show that I am making an effort. This is a lot more than I can say for the Thai government. Roong found a Uni in Lopburi that offers a condensed teachers certificate course that will satisfy the Ministry of Education. It takes 9 months of going to school one weekend a month. Not bad, but it costs 60,000 baht. That's about half of what it would cost in Bangkok. But the catch is that they stopped the program due to lack of interest. There aren't many foreigners where I am, and most seem to have given up. I am searching for others that might be interested in the course because the prof. told Roong that he would re-open the course if we could get 8 students. We will see how that goes.

I have to get my visa renewed this month. I think we are going next Thursday. I don't look forward to sitting in the Immi. office all day, but I do get cheeseburgers. With all the fuss over education lately, I was looking online for free courses that I might be able to take to give me an edge on something. A surprising amount of places offer free courses. None of them give you any college credits of course, but I thought I might find a useful one.

I noticed that Brigham Young offered a few, so I looked at the list, and noticed that they offer bowling, beginner's swimming, and 300 religion courses. There's a lesson in there somewhere. I almost signed up for the swimming just to see how that works online.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

A Hoax?

This Is Not A Joke!


There are a few things that can be
done in times of grave emergencies.

Your mobile phone can actually be a life saver or an emergency tool for survival.

Check out the things that you can do with it:



The Emergency Number worldwide for Mobile is

If you find yourself out of the coverage area of
your mobile; network and there is an emergency, dial 112<> and the mobile will search any existing
network to establish the emergency number for you,
and interestingly this number 112 can be dialled
even if the keypad is locked. Try it out.


Have you locked your keys in the car?

Does your car have remote keyless entry?
This may come in handy someday.
Good reason to own a cell phone: If you lock your
keys in the car and the spare keys are at home,
call someone at home on their mobile phone
from your cell phone.

Hold your cell phone about a foot from
your car door and have the person at your home press the unlock button,
holding it near the mobile phone on their end.

Your car will unlock.

Saves someone from having to
drive your keys to you.

Distance is no object.
You could be hundreds of miles away, and if you can reach someone who has
the other 'remote' for your car, you can
unlock the doors (or the trunk).

Editor's Note: It works fine! We tried it out and
it unlocked our car over a mobile phone!'


Hidden Battery Power

Imagine your mobile battery is very low.
To activate, press the keys *3370# Your mobile will restart with this reserve and the
instrument will show a 50% increase in battery.

This reserve will get charged when
you charge your mobile next time.


How to disable a
mobile phone?

To check your Mobile phone's serial number,
key in the following digits on your phone: * # 0 6 #

A 15 digit code will appear on the screen.

This number is unique to your handset.

Write it down and keep it somewhere safe.

When your phone get stolen, you can phone your service provider and give them this code.

They will then be able to block your handset
so even if the thief changes the SIM card, your phone will be totally useless.

You probably won't get your phone back,
but at least you know that whoever stole it can't use/sell it either.

If everybody does this, there would be no point in people stealing mobile phones.

ATM - PIN Number Reversal -
Good to Know
If you should ever be forced by a robber to
withdraw money from an ATM machine, you can notify the police by entering your PIN # &n bsp;
in reverse.

For example, if your pin number is
1234, then you would put in 4321.

The ATM system recognizes that your PIN number is backwards from the ATM card you placed in the machine.

The machine will still give you the money you requested,
but unknown to the robber, the police will be
immediately dispatched to the location.

This information was recently broadcast on CTV by Crime Stoppers
however it is seldom used because people just don't know about it.
Please pass this along to everyone.

This is the kind of information people don't mind
receiving, so pass it on to your family and friends

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Pancakes hit Thailand!

While we were at the store last week in Lopburi. I stumbled across a box of pancake mix. I hadn't seen it anywhere here before. After blowing the dust off the box, we decided to give it a go. This morning, because she was the hungriest, Palmiez decided to try making them. She did great for her first time. They don't in any way shape or for even resemble round, but they taste ok. The shape may be due to her trying to make them in a wok. We may need to find a legit frying pan somewhere.

Oh, and you may have noticed that Palm is sporting a new shorter doo. She got fed up with the heat, and whacked it all off. Makes sense to me. I have mine so short now that I noticed I have a small birthmark on the left side of my head, just above my ear. Who knew?

Monday, April 13, 2009

Palmiez the Mad Scientist

Palmy built a robot! It was an assignment for one of her classes. While she was building it, I was trying to guess what it would do. I naturally went for the most obvious things. Like a robot that could talk on the cell phone for her, while she was talking on her other one. Or, maybe a robot that would fold the laundry for her (she hates doing that!). As the unveiling crept closer, she ran into a snag. She had been working with a group of other students, but it seems that her instructor wasn't to thrilled with what they had achieved so far. This worried her a bit, but didn't stop her. Palmiez decided to do it herself. What she ended up making, is a little robot mouse that follows a beam of light to wherever you want it to go. I am not sure what you could do with it, but it's pretty cool just the same. She received a very good grade, and is most pleased with herself.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Buddhism vs Easter

Happy Easter everyone. I hadn't noticed that it was almost here. Living in the land of Buddhism can make that easy to happen. There isn't much attention paid to the Christian holidays. I believe that Easter is a celebration of Christ's rise from the grave? Let's face it, everyone here believes in continuous reincarnation, so JC coming back from the dead only once, pretty much makes him an amateur! XD

Saturday, April 04, 2009

4 out of 5 RedBubblers agree....

Yeah baby! My "Return of Dead Fish" tee design made the first slot on the front of RedBubble's home page. A little recognition isn't a bad thing to see first thing in the morning. Now, if i could just sell a few of the damn things! Haaa!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Ead had a baby!!

You get used to some pretty strange things here. A few times a month, you have to wait a bit at an intersection, because there are elephants stomping down the street. Cobras in the bathroom, stuff like that. But this one was the most interesting. I finally got Roong to go to "Long Bia" again. She doesn't like it much, because the music is a bit loud for her, and the food isn't that great, but she finally caved in.

While we were sitting there, one of the regular waitresses strolled up with what looked to be a baby in her arms. I must admit that the long arms and long orange hair threw me off for a second or two. Most kids here have black hair. Anyway, it turns out that she was holding a baby Orangutan. It seems that one of the keepers at the local zoo occasionally gets a wild hair, and takes one of the animals for a night out. Babies give me the creeps, but I must admit that holding a baby Orangutan is pretty cool. They hang on with their feet. Either he was pretty tired from all the excitement, or maybe he just found a nice soft place to put his face, because he just hung on and slept. Was very interesting indeed. The picture was taken on a cell phone, so it's not too clear, sorry.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Famous in Thailand

Which is basically like being the head french fry boy at McDonalds. I have been teaching here in one place or another for almost 3 years now. It seems to finally be paying off a bit. People have started to come looking for me for lessons. That's a good thing because trying to initiate a class or group to learn English here in Pattananikom is pretty difficult. The few times we have tried always start out great, but slowly fade down to classes that are too small to make it worth while. Let's face it, learning a language pretty much sucks if you don't have a reason to do it.

This scared me because I just assumed it meant I wasn't a very good teacher. But, although I still have a lot to learn about my new career, I don't think that's really the case. It's just hard to keep kids focused or even interested in learning English here. We are so far away from any other exposure to the language that most can't imagine why they should bother to learn it. Kids in Bangkok, Pattaya, or Chang Mai hear, see, and use at least some English every day. But here, unless they happen to be talking to me, they don't.

Luckily, now that I have been here a while, people that are serious about learning have started to look for me. They young lady in the photo's name is Dok-Mai. She heard through friends that Roong and I go hang out at Bannok at least once a week or so, so she came and found us there. Give lessons in a bar? Hey, why not? Roong removed my beer and put a glass of water in front of me for a better appearance. All that did was make the lesson go quite a bit faster, so I could get my damn beer back. Haaa! Like anyone is going to believe that.

The local school that our daughter attends has called Roong several times in regards to hiring me for next year. I would like to teach there, because they have 10th - 12th grade there, and my current school does not. I would like the experience. But, as they are a government school, they are under funded, and their management is a bit shakey. That's ok though, as my boss has assured me that Penpattana will be renewing my contract for this coming year. Though probably without a raise from the cheap bastard. I keep praying that one day Roong will get tired of living here in the styx, and we can move to a real city.

I am supposed to start teaching an adult next weekend. She lives in Saraburi. That's about 30 minutes south of us. Her husband is in America, and she wants to take a crash course in conversation before she moves there. At first I wasn't sure what to teach her, but then I just kind of let my mind wander over what an average day was like in the USA. Coupling those things with what I can imagine she is going to go through when she immigrates there, gave me a pretty good idea of what she may need.

Roong is setting up a small course, maybe 6 weeks, at here district that I will teach over the spring vacation. 13 days until 2 months of freedom!!!!!! There won't really be much free time though, because I have to write 2 books to use in my classes for the next term. I have been working hard to refine my lesson plan, and try to put some things in there that the kids will be ok with. I think I have made good progress with that this term. I will know more once I have put it all together, and can look at the finished idea.

Roong and I are going to Bangkok today. We will meet Palmiez there, have lunch, and then go wander about. Palmiez is in the middle of exams now. I hope her grades come up a bit. Last time was a wee bit disappointing.I am hoping we have enough time to go to the used book store again. It's small, but it's the only place I can find affordable used books in English. I will say one thing though, lack of availability sure broadens your horizons. I will read just about anything, so i have found some new things that are interesting, that I wouldn't normally have looked at. Pukky has seemed to cheer up a bit lately. I am not sure if it's due to the fact that she is realizing her boyfriend is a loser, or if she's up to something. We will see. That's all for now. I will probably be posting more after the kids are finished with their exams, in about 2 weeks.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Featured Fester on RedBubble

One of my t-shirt designs has gotten featured on the homepage of RedBubble (the black and white of uncle Fester). "Woohoo" and all that jazz! I get featured on several different group homepages like "Fabulous T's" and "Back in Black" pretty regularly, but this is the first time I have made it to the community's front page. Now if my sales would just recover from the X-mas slump, I would be ok.

Other than that, it's been kind of quiet around here lately. Next month, I will be teaching a sister of one of Roong's classmates English for a few weeks. It seems she is headed to America, and wants a crash course in conversation. Works for me. A few extra baht sure won't hurt around here. My free class at the Pattananikom school has been suspended until next term. The kids have to get ready for their finals next month and all.

We met Palmiez in Bangkok for a bit of school supply shopping and what-not last weekend. Always fun to hang out with her for the afternoon. She and her boyfriend "Ice" are doing ok. His family owns a beer distributorship here in Lopburi. Of course, I liked him right away.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Find your passion!

This little guy knows what he likes! Nothing fires you up like a box of Crayolas and an endless supply of blank paper.
This is one of Roong's t-shirt designs, I think it's called "Lovely Caterpillar". Watching her learn how to create what she is imagining has been an amazing experience. She couldn't draw a stick figure a few months ago, and now she is having her work featured in many of the groups on Redbubble. She seems to be doing mostly t-shirts and greeting cards now. I am very proud of her and her accomplishments. Please giver her designs a look on Rainy's Bubble.