Friday, October 29, 2010
I was kind of half watching a show about the filming of the "Spartacus: Blood and Sand" series. About halfway through it they flashed to a shot of one of the producers or directors standing next to a camera. It wasn't until after the show had gone on for another minute or so, that I thought "Damn, that guy's t-shirt looked familiar".
I went to Youtube and pulled up all the trailers and "Behind the scene" type of stuff, and finally found one that showed that guy. Hey! That's my t-shirt design! It's a silhouette of John Steed and Emma Peel from the old "Avengers" series from back in the late 60's. Lots of other people have done variations on that silhouette shot from the opening credits, but as far as I could find, none of them are exactly like mine.
Odds are that he didn't get it from me, but you never know. If he did buy it from me, it must have been several months ago, because I took that white version of that design down because it wasn't selling very well. The black silhouette version is still here though.
Whether it is or isn't my design doesn't matter much I guess, but I must admit that it was a real rush thinking that it could have been.
Saturday, October 23, 2010
We get some serious flooding every year at about this time. Sometimes much of Bangkok is underwater. I guess filling in most of the canals wasn't such a good idea after all, was it.
We get hit here pretty hard too, because we live close to the dam and the river. This year, 8 out of the 10 villages in Roong's district totally flooded out. She has been working 7 days a week to supervise the distribution of food and clean water to the refugees. The worst part may be yet to come though, because after the flood waters recede, then they have to deal with the mosquitoes and disease that always seems to follow this time of year.
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
She did it! Palmiez has finished University. Well, almost. Apparently her last semester is an OJT type of deal. She has already found a job at a company in Bangkok that will hire her for the semester to work in their IT department. I imagine, that if she does well they will keep her on a permanent basis.
Her final project for this last term was to construct a pen that could identify it's owner's signature. That way, if it was stolen, it wouldn't work for the thief. She confiscated my drawing tablet to build it, I hope I see it again someday. She should be home in a few days for a brief vacation before she starts her job. I am anxious to see how her project turned out. We have already gotten her term grades, 3 A's and 2 B's. We are very proud of her.
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
If knowing the difference between adding a little pizazz to a dish and burning the enamel off one's teeth is an art, then the Thais are still finger painting. Thai food has a lot of chilies in it, and they diabolically come in all kinds of colors so you can't always easily sort them out.
The easy solution would seem to be to tell the waitress, or the cook, "Mai pet, kob". That means "Not hot, please" in Thai. For some reason, that doesn't work very well. I am not sure if it is because the waitresses just don't pay any attention to what you are saying, or because the cook thinks that the look on your face you get after swallowing a mouthful of those things is funny as hell.
At first, I thought that I was just getting a bit older and couldn't handle the hot stuff like I used too. I would take a bite of something, turn beet red, and start sweating in places that I didn't know I had. Then, I would raise 7 kinds of hell about it, and the girls would be laughing their little brown asses off. Mind you, this would happen at the same places I have been eating at least a few times a week, for almost 5 years now. I was pretty sure it was a conspiracy, because Thai folk can have a pretty evil sense of humor when the mood strikes them.
But, after watching our girls for a while, I noticed the same thing happening to them too. They are just sneakier about their suffering. After Palmiez would take a bite of something, She would put her head down a little to chew it. I asked her why she did that, and when she looked up at me, it was clear as day. She had tears streaming out of her eyes and a water mustache.
I asked her "Alloy mai?", which means "Is it delicious?". To which she coughed, blinked back the tears, and sputtered "Chai, alloy mach daddy", which means "Yes, it's very delicious". So, I asked her why, if it was so good, was she crying? She just giggled and kept eating.
I have, on many occasions, tried to explain to them that "hot" is not a flavor, but have met with no success. Roong tells me that chillies are good for you. She can't seem to explain why, but remains convinced that it is true. Deep down, I may be hoping that maybe there is some wonderous hidden health benefit to them that I haven't discovered yet, and that she puts them in there because she loves me. But, until I develop the ability to leap tall buildings in a single bound, or live to be 147 years old, I will remain convinced that she does it just to see ridiculous faces I make when I come across one of her culinary booby traps.
Sunday, September 05, 2010
A person could know South Korea for a long time without knowing Wanju, an obscure county 112 miles south of Seoul. And, at least until recently, a person could know a lot about Wanju without ever hearing of Cha Sa-soon, a 69-year-old woman who lives alone in the mountain-ringed village of Sinchon.
Now, however, Ms. Cha is an unlikely national celebrity.
This diminutive woman, now known nationwide as “Grandma Cha Sa-soon,” has achieved a record that causes people here to first shake their heads with astonishment and then smile: She failed her driver’s test hundreds of times but never gave up. Finally, she got her license — on her 960th try.
For three years starting in April 2005, she took the test once a day five days a week. After that, her pace slowed, to about twice a week. But she never quit.
Hers is a fame based not only on sheer doggedness, a quality held in high esteem by Koreans, but also on the universal human sympathy for a monumental — and in her case, cheerful — loser.
“When she finally got her license, we all went out in cheers and hugged her, giving her flowers,” said Park Su-yeon, an instructor at Jeonbuk Driving School, which Ms. Cha once attended. “It felt like a huge burden falling off our back. We didn’t have the guts to tell her to quit because she kept showing up.”
Of course, Ms. Park and another driving teacher noted, perhaps Ms. Cha should content herself with simply getting the license and not endangering others on the road by actually driving. But they were not too worried about the risk, they said, because it was the written test, not the driving skill and road tests, that she failed so many times.
WHEN word began spreading last year of the woman who was still taking the test after failing it more than 700 times, reporters traced her to Sinchon, where the bus, the only means of public transportation, comes by once every two hours on a street so narrow it has to pull over to let other vehicles pass.
They followed her to the test site in the city of Jeonju, an hour away. There, they also videotaped her in the market, where she sells her home-grown vegetables at an open-air stall.
Once she finally got her license, in May, Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group, South Korea’s leading carmaker, started an online campaign asking people to post messages of congratulations. Thousands poured in. In early August, Hyundai presented Ms. Cha with a $16,800 car.
Ms. Cha, whose name, coincidentally enough, is Korean for “vehicle,” now also appears on a prime-time television commercial for Hyundai.
It is a big change from her non-celebrity life, spent simply in a one-room hut with a slate roof, where the only sounds on a recent summer day were from a rain-swollen brook, occasional military jets flying overhead and cicadas rioting in the nearby persimmon trees. A lone old man dozed, occasionally swatting at flies, in a small shop next to the bus stop.
Born to a peasant family with seven children but no land, Ms. Cha spent her childhood working in the fields and studying at an informal night school. It was not until she turned 15 that she joined a formal school as a fourth grader. But her schooling ended there a few years later.
“Father had no land, and middle school was just a dream for me,” she said.
Ms. Cha said she had always envied people who could drive, but it was not until she was in her 60s that she got around to trying for a license.
“Here, if you miss the bus, you have to wait another two hours. Talk about frustration!” said Ms. Cha, who had to transfer to a second bus to get to her driving test site and to yet another to reach her market stall.
“But I was too busy raising my four children,” she continued. “Eventually they all grew up and went away and my husband died several years ago, and I had more time for myself. I wanted to get a driver’s license so I could take my grandchildren to the zoo.”
Friday, June 25, 2010
I am pretty sure that on any given day, I learn a hell of a lot more than my class does. I don't know if that's just life, or if it's just me. Here's what happened..
My wife won't teach me any Thai dirty words. At first, I thought it was because she was just an old prude, but then I realized that Thais don't really have a lot of curse words. Your expression or tone of voice does more for emphasis than any particular explicative that you could use. They have some, but not a great selection.
Today, one of my better students was trying to dazzle me with her latest batch of barely understandable vocabulary. After she had run out, she smiled real big and said "I speak ang-grit very well". "Ang-grit" is the Thai word for English. I rolled my eyes and said "Yes, I can see that". I then reminded her that she should practice her English every day. She thought about it for a second, and said "fuk ang-grit!" I had a moment of panic, and then calmly asked her what she had said. She smiled and replied "Chan fuk ang-grit".
Well, that's what I though she said. I figured that it would be much more fun to have an audience, if I could get her to say that again. This was better than South Park. I headed over to the teacher's office with little Miw in tow. Miss Nong happened to be in there, so I asked her to listen to Miw's latest verbal accomplishment.
On command, Miw loudly said "Fuk Ang-grit!". I looked at Nong, who looked back at me, smiled, and said "that's good". I was a bit confused. I asked Miw where she had gotten that, and to my surprise, she said she had gotten it from me. I admit to having let a few borderline words slip occasionally because no one understands what I am saying anyway, but never that one. I think Miw noticed my confusion, because she grabbed a dictionary and quickly looked up the word "fuk". In Thai, it means "to practice". When she said "Fuk ang-grit", she was telling me that she practiced her English, as I said she needed to do. I smiled and told her how proud I was of her, thanked Nong, and took a smiling little miss Miw back to class.
I guess the moral to the story is that if you really want to learn a new language, and be able to speak it well, you have to "fuk" a lot.
Monday, June 21, 2010
Puk turned 17 a little less than 2 weeks ago, so Roong made a video about it. Per the norm, we went to Ban-nok to eat, drink, and be merry. Until the karaoke starts, and then it's just lots of drinking. Roong has all kinds of things on her website now, give it a look.
Sunday, June 20, 2010
Roong has been making slideshow videos for her greeting cards and flower photos. So, I decided to make one for my t-shirts. Great tee art and banjo music. What more could you ask for? Yeah, I know, pretty girls. I'm working on it. Mobii's RedBubble
Friday, June 04, 2010
Every once in a while, my mom sends me a block of Velveeta cheese. I am very grateful for this because I like Velveeta, but also, it's a little bit of home, that I can't get here. Thai people don't seem to like cheese. They also apparently have an aversion to salad dressing, but that's another story. Anyway, Mom put a block of the pasteurized gold in a box with some undies, a can of Pringles, and tees, and sent it on it's merry way. About 2 weeks later, I received a notice from the post office that a package had arrived for me, but had been damaged along the way. That is secret post office code for "we opened it up, but didn't want anything in there".
I immediately went bat shit crazy. Mom sends these little treasures once every few months, and it's expensive to send anything larger than a letter from Missouri to Thailand. Also, the little shits try and charge me for it when it gets here. It's some type of import tax, but they give it a different name every time they ask for it. I have found that taking Roong with me usually solves that problem, because she out ranks them.
Back to the cheese. I went there after work, and was immediately ushered to the back to see the package. There were three postal workers standing around one of those small carts, looking like surgeons who knew the patient they were going to operate on wasn't going to pull through. It was pretty bad.
One half of the box was totally crushed. It had also been ripped open at one corner. It happened after it arrived, because I could see the Bangkok stamp mark that the tear had divided. I slammed my fist down on the table and let loose with a pretty impressive string of colorful vocabulary. I ripped open what was left of the box to see if anything had survived. At first, it was hard to tell. Everything was covered in crushed Pringles. The clothes seemed ok, just a bit oily and full of crumbs. Nothing a good washing couldn't fix. But, as I lifted them off, there was the cheese.
It was pretty bad. It had been pretty much flattened, and the box was torn open at one end. I carefully picked it up, and took the the box apart. What I ended up with, could best be described as a silver water balloon. As near as I could tell, the foil that the Velveeta is wrapped in hadn't been damaged. It seems that It was so hot wherever it had been stored, that the cheese had pretty much liquefied. So, when it got smashed, it just kind of shifted it's shape. It was hard to pick up, because it just wanted to flow out of your hands.
There was hope! So, I gave a last scowl and growl to the post office workers, and hurried home. I put the cheese in the fridge, and kind of wedged it between 2 boxes to try and give it some shape. I left it in there for 2 days to let it set again, in hopes that it would be edible.
It worked. I am munching down on a cheese sandwich, even as we speak. Everyone has heard the urban legends, that Velveeta is just one molecule away from being plastic. True, or not, it's still pretty amazing. The smashing, the heat, and everything else, didn't phase it. It tastes fine. Velveeta truly is indestructible. Thanks Mom!
Saturday, May 01, 2010
"I wanted to wait a few weeks before posting this story, because I wasn’t sure something horrible wasn’t going to happen as a result of it. It seems that a province in southern Thailand has brought a pig-tailed macaque monkey on to its police force. And while I’ve seen some photos showing Officer Santisuk here getting a little yell-y and mooning the general populace, in general it seems that he hasn’t gotten drunk with power. Nobody’s face has been bitten off yet, which is more than some police forces here in the States can attest to. Keep it up, Santisuk, and maybe someday you’ll make detective.
*This was reprinted from the fancy notions blog
Monday, April 26, 2010
Ok, everyone sing along, Ooooooo....
If there's a cobra on your carport, clap your hands!
If there's a cobra on your carport, clap your hands!
If it's prone to nasty fits, and it strikes at you, or spits,
There's a cobra on your carport, clap your hands!
Ahhh... spring is in the air, and that means hatching time for our favorite lurker. It wasn't quite as big as this bad boy, but that doesn't seem to matter. The little ones are just as dangerous as the big ones, and less predictable. Luckily, stupid Bongo was too busy barking at the neighbors to notice our visitor. The people across the street have been here at least as long as I have, but for some reason, Bongo only barks at them, and chases their scooters. She doesn't bother anyone else on our block. Anyway, I used a broom to shoo the snake out the gate, and it went down the storm drain. I am not so much worried about anyone getting bitten, as I am about the poor snake getting eaten.
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Sunday, March 14, 2010
Just when you think you can't take this backwards ass hell hole anymore, something like this happens...
(03-25) 08:11 PDT BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) --
Spiderman to the rescue!
A Thai firefighter put on a Spiderman costume to rescue a superhero-loving autistic boy who climbed onto a third-floor balcony and dangled his legs over the side because he was nervous on his first day of school.
Somchai Yoosabai was called in after the 11-year-old boy's teachers and mother failed to coax him off the ledge on Monday, he said in a telephone interview Wednesday.
"He was nervous about the first day at school, and he was asking for his mother," Somchai said. "He cried and refused to let any of us get close to him."
Overhearing a conversation between the boy's mother and his teachers about his love for comics and superheros, Somchai rushed back to the fire station to change into a Spiderman costume before swinging into action.
"I told him Spiderman is here to save you. No monster will hurt you now," Somchai said. "Then I told him to walk slowly toward me. I was very nervous that he might have slipped if he got too excited and ran."
Somchai, who keeps costume of Spiderman and a Japanese superhero Ultraman to liven up fire drills at schools, said the teary-eyed boy broke into a smile and started walking into his arms.