Saturday, March 31, 2012

Car Walking

They do some strange things around here that usually irritate the piss out of me. But, occasionally they come up with something that actually makes sense in it's own weird Thai way. Proving that necessity is the mother of invention, the Thais have come up with "car walking". The thing is that here, stuff like driving lane lines,  parking space lines, or any other kind of line that tells you where you are supposed to be, mean absolutely nothing. They routinely jam 3 cars across a 1 lane road, and then are totally baffled about why there is a traffic jam. They seem to be unable to put their vehicles even roughly in the center of a parking lane, and usually end up having their little compact car take up the room that a one ton ford dually would need.

To combat this problem, they have come up with "car walking". Whenever they park somewhere that they shouldn't be parking they leave the car out of gear, and the emergency brake off. So, when you come out of the supermarket to find that some dumb ass has parked in the middle of the lane right behind you, you can just push his car out of the way and go about your business. Far be it from me to remind them that if they had parked where they should have in the first place that this would all be unnecessary. They are quite pleased that they have come up with this idea to solve the inexplicable parking problems all by themselves.

I have gotten use to this silliness now, but once in a while, I can't resist the temptation to push the offending auto to the most inconvenient spot I can find. After having a few beers one evening, a friend and I pushed one out of the lot and across the street. I am sure that the surprised owner attributed the whole thing to ghosts or aliens.

Friday, March 30, 2012

The world has had enough!

See? I don't make this stuff up!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Soul for Sale


You can have power, wealth, an attractive mate and virtually anything else you ever dreamed of – by selling your soul to Satan! But how?
You must know what you’re doing when you make the deal or Satan will cheat you blind. That’s the word from Dr. Rex Touth, expert on satanic rituals and author of How to Negotiate Unholy Contracts.
Dr. Touth cites cases dating all the way back to the 16th century in which humans have agreed to spend eternity in Hell when they die in exchange for earthly pleasures while they’re alive.
“Human history and world literature are teeming with stories like that of Germany’s Dr. Faustus who sold his soul,” says Dr. Touth. “Our own American statesman Daniel Webster once debated Satan in a landmark soul-selling case in which he renegotiated the contract and had it overturned.
“Thousands have gained riches and fulfilled their fantasies.”
Here are some tips from Dr. Touth on how you can take advantage of the same opportunity:
  1. SET THE DEAL UP PROPERLY. There’s a right and wrong way to make contact with the Devil. The right way is to be alone in your room, close your eyes and say, “Satan, I summon you. I have a quality soul to sell if the price is right.” It may take dozens, even hundreds of tries but at all costs, avoid sounding desperate or needy. He’ll show up eventually.
  2. DEAL FROM A POSITION OF POWER. By far the biggest mistake people make is to underestimate how badly Satan wants their soul. It’s like precious gold to him and he’ll pay anything to get it. When he appears, get him to make the first offer, then up it.
  3. GET THE ABSOLUTE BEST. Remember, you’re going to burn in Hell forever. So no matter how badly off you are now, demand the best. For instance, even if you feel unlovable and desperate with loneliness, don’t just say, “I want the most gorgeous woman on earth and I want her to be madly in love with me.” Instead, add, “In fact, throw in 100 other women as well so I can pick and choose according to my mood.”
  4. REMEMBER TO DEMAND THE LIFE-EXTENSION CLAUSE. Satan won’t tell you if you don’t ask but you can get a guarantee of 300 years of youthful life before you go to eternal damnation. Why enjoy a mere 75 or 80 years of reckless living when you can get 300?
Religious groups worldwide are trying to ban Dr. Touth’s book. “This kind of trash is spiritual dynamite,” says a spokesman for the North American Council of Churches and Synagogues. “We can’t, in good conscience, let people read how to destroy their almighty souls.”

But Dr. Touth says we should all be aware of the facts so we can make an informed decision. “It’s your soul,” he says. “Do what you want with it.”

(Insert level 9 eye roll and dismissive snort here!)

Monday, March 26, 2012

New 3D Animation

ACK! I just started to kind of watch "The Adventures of Tin Tin", while I am working. The new 3D animation stuff is very creepy. They are like little living dolls. It reminds me of that old Twilight Zone episode where the woman was being chased around the house by that cannibal voodoo doll. Very creepy indeed!
 This was one of the reasons I never played video games much. I came into them kind of late, and really only liked the adventure game "Zelda". But, after the first 2 or 3 games came out, they started doing them in 3D. That stuff gave me a headache. It was disorienting to me for some reason. I never did take a liking to them. 
The movie plot is pretty good though. I had always liked the Tin Tin stories for the artwork, but that old Maltese Falcon Lite way of writing was fun too.  They took a few liberties in the making of this film, but still seemed to keep the basic flavor of the original stories.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Set Leaow!

That means "finished" in Thai. And I am finished! Today was the last day of school. I didn't have to do anything because the kids were all taking their last day of tests. They had three solid days of testing to go through. That's gotta suck. Biggie Smalls (the boss) had to hand out a ton of graduation diplomas to the kindergarteners and the 6th graders.He spent most of yesterday doing that. That's good for him.

I will miss a lot of the students that will be going to M-3, or leaving the school entirely. Kids like Beggy, Yo, Drive, Noona, Bam, Taptim, and Sai don't happen very often. They were a tremendous help to me in doing my job. Sometimes they helped me do things like sorting student papers because I couldn't read the Thai names, or even just by answering a question in class that was something that the others didn't know. Their participation helped me get through some very rough spots. Luckily, a t least some of them will now attend the school right next door to us, so I can still see them and say "Hi" once in a while.

I also found out that these jackasses expect me to teach 5 grade levels in 28 hours a week next term. That is right at 1000 students. That's 3 grade levels and more than a full day of teaching more than the rest of them have to do. And we all know that hell will freeze over before B.S. gives anyone a raise. I have 45 days to either find a new job, or figure out how to be Thai and just smile and accept it.

If the principal of any school in Bangkok or Phukett is reading this, please GET ME OUT OF HERE!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Photoshop Tapered Line Tutorial

You see that? I have been looking for what seems like forever for a tutorial to tell me how to do that. Just trying to figure out how to make a pen tool stroke that tapers at the end like a brush stroke was making me crazy! I found a few tutorials on how to do it in Illustrator, but Illustrator looks totally alien to me. I have never been able to become comfortable using it. I downloaded Manga Studio because the brush tool in it automatically smooths and tapers your pen tool lines for you. But, that was the only think I ever did with it. That thing takes up a gig of space on my computer.

Thanks to this quick and easy tutorial on Deviant Art by Systaticism, I can now get rid of that HD hogging beast. Well done Systaticism!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Roof Cats

One of the first things that I noticed about living here in the twilight zone, is that there are no Siamese Cats here. We had Siamese cats at home for many years, so when I came to Siam (Thailand) I expected the place to have an ass load of them. Not a one! I mean, I have seen a few here and there, but not as many as you would think you would see in the land where I thought they were supposed to have originated.

However, they do have roof cats. Our little street has 12 houses on each side, all connected and gated like little jail cells. Typical Thai homes. Because of that, each side has one long roof, with a little dormer type roof that sticks put over the drive way of each individual home. Plus, the roof has cats. There must be at least 7 - 8 running around up there. That is just on the other side of the street. I don't know how many are on top of our side. In 6 years, I have never seen one of these cats on the ground. Not once. You see them all the time prowling around up there starting at dusk, and can hear them yowling on and off through the night. I guess they have plenty to eat, as there is no shortage of pigeons around here. My daughter says that they have always been there, and that she has never seen one go up or down from the roof top either. Strange.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

He likes it! Hey Mikey!

In older times, it was “off with your head” if you spoke ill of the King. Now, you go to jail for posting your feelings on Facebook about the Thai monarchy, which many of the Thai folk actively do. In fact, over 10,000 pages of material was found on the social networking, containing images or text that is offensive to the royal family.
The Information Minister of Thailand, Anudith Nakornthap, warned the people of Thailand that if users on Facebook so much as even like or share any kind of information insulting the monarchy, the consequences would be severe. Such a person could be charged with violation of the lese majeste laws of the country, and could serve up to 15 years in prison. He also advised people to ‘unlike’ any pages and remove any comments made on similar lines. In a world where democracy and freedom of speech are taken for granted in most countries, this news might come across as quite surprising. I mean, we’ve lost count of the number of jokes made online at the expense of Bush, Palin and the likes. Thailand however, has always been strict in enforcing laws that protect the dignity of the sovereign.

Facebook Like Button big 550x266 In Thailand, a “Like” on Facebook Can Get You 15 Years in Jail

This is completely regardless of nationality. A Swiss citizen in 2007 and an Australian writer in 2009  were arrested for similar reasons. The Swiss gentleman had spray painted the King’s image, and he was sentenced to 10 years for that. Fortunately for him, the King pardoned him after a few months. The Australian was lucky too; he was pardoned after being sentenced to 3 years for writing offensive content on the royal family in his novel. So if you’re ever in Thailand, watch out, you might want to keep your comments and observations to yourself!

10 Illegal Baby Names

 (Devil 13)

At the start of 2011, the Pope declared war on parents naming babies after celebrities, fruit or popular sports cars. In an address to parents, the ever-progressive pontiff pleaded with worshipers that when thinking of baby names, they should 'give your children names that are in the Christian calendar'.

So Apple, Brooklyn and Ferrari are out, Francisco and Giulia are in.
But Benedict's not the only authority figure to stamp down on one of the sillier by-products of celebrity culture. Various baby names have all been banned around the world for reasons of taste, decency or just plain daftnesss. So without further ado, we present out list of the top illegal baby names.

1) Talula Does The Hula From Hawaii (New Zealand)
New Zealand law bans names which could cause offence to a 'reasonable' person. Good thing too - the country is a stupid name hotspot. We found a couple from the islands who tried and failed to call their son '4Real', but nothing beats the ridiculous moniker above. It belonged to a 9-year-old girl before a judge had her renamed during a custody battle. 'It makes a fool of the child,' he said. It certainly made application forms a pain in the butt. Has New Zealand banned any other names? Oh yes. The judge listed some that were also blocked: Fish and Chips (twins), Yeah Detroit, Keenan Got Lucy and Sex Fruit. Number 16 Bus Shelter and Violence were allowed.

2) Venerdi AKA 'Friday' (Italy)
Maybe this is what the Pope was talking about. Back in 2008 a court banned an Italian couple from calling their child Venerdi (translation: Friday). The judges reckoned the name - taken from 'Robinson Crusoe' - would expose the boy to 'mockery' and was associated with 'subservience and insecurity'. The parents, however, might have the last laugh; they threatened to call their next child Mercoledi (Wednesday).
Has Italy banned any other names? Italian courts can step in 'when the child's name is likely to limit social interaction and create insecurity'. In Turin, Andrea was rejected (and changed to Emma) as it's a boy's name in Italy. Dalmata has also been rejected, as it means Dalmatian.

3) Brfxxccxxmnpcccclllmmnprxvclmnckssqlbb11116 (Sweden)
No, we didn't fall asleep on the keyboard. That is an actual name a Swedish couple tried to inflict on their son back in 1996. Apparently the name is pronounced 'Albin' (we're not sure how), and the parents chose it as a protest against Sweden's admittedly strict naming laws. Tax authorities must give their blessing to both first and surnames before they can be used.
Has Sweden banned any other names? Oh yes. Some favourites include Metallica, IKEA, Veranda and Q. Google was OK though.

4) Gesher AKA 'Bridge' (Norway)
Back in 1998 those nasty Norwegians threw a woman in jail (admittedly for only two days) when she failed to pay a fine for giving her son an 'unapproved' name. Eccentric Kristi Larsen said she was instructed in a dream to name her son Gesher (Hebrew for 'Bridge'), but the court were having none of it. Kristi did have 13 children already though, so maybe she had just run out of ideas.
Has Norway banned any other names? Undoubtedly, though in recent times they have replaced their list of officially sanctioned names with a general ban on monikers featuring swearing, sex and illnesses.

5) Chow Tow AKA 'Smelly Head' (Malaysia)
Unlike many countries which are gradually relaxing name laws, Malaysian authorities have cracked down on unsuitable titles in recent years. In 2006 government killjoys published a list of undesirable names that weren't in keeping with the religious traditions of the country – such as Cantonese moniker Chow Tow – which means 'Smelly Head'.
Has Malaysia banned any other names? Lots more Chinese efforts such as Ah Chwar ('Snake'), Khiow Khoo ('Hunchback'), Sor Chai ('Insane'). Malays should also steer clear of Woti, which means 'Sexual Intercourse'.

6) @ (China)
With more than a billion fellow countrymen, finding a unique name in China is difficult. Perhaps that's why one couple called their baby the '@' symbol – in Chinese characters it apparently looks a bit like 'love him'. Bless. Unsurprisingly, however, the authorities were less sentimental and publicised the moniker as an example of citizens bringing bizarre names into the Chinese language.
Has China banned any other names? The police have control over all names given to children because they issue identity cards, but details of rejections are not widely circulated.

7) Miatt (Germany)
Country living up to stereotype alert! Surprise, surprise the Germans are somewhat officious when it comes to baby naming laws. Regulation-loving Deutschland has an entire department (the Standesamt) which decides if names are suitable. Miatt was rejected because it didn't clearly show whether the child was a boy or a girl, but sometimes the decisions are somewhat arbitrary...
Has Germany banned any other names? The likes of Stompie, Woodstock and Grammophon were turned down, whereas the similarly strange Speedy, Lafayette and Jazz were allowed.

8) Anus (Denmark)

What is it about Scandinavian countries and name laws? The Danes are even tougher than the Swedes in this regard, with parents given 7,000-odd names to choose from by the government. Special permission is needed to deviate from the list, with ethnic names, odd spellings and even compound surnames forbidden. Luckily for him (we assume it's a 'he'), Anus was one of 250-odd names rejected each year.
Has Denmark banned any other names? Well, Pluto and Monkey had lucky escapes...

9) Ovnis (Portugal)
Before naming your child in Portugal, best consult this mammoth, 80-page government doc (and have it translated to English) that tells you which names you can and can't use. It's pretty strict (and random) – Tom├ís is OK but Tom isn't – and celebs can forget about the likes of Apple and Brooklyn, which aren't even on the banned list. Essex girls rejoice, however – Mercedes is allowed! Has Portugal banned any other names? There are more than 2,000 names on the reject list, including Ovnis - Portuguese for UFO.

10) Akuma AKA Devil (Japan)
Here's a name the Pope definitely wouldn't approve of. In 1993 a Japanese parent called his son Akuma (which literally means Devil). The authorities decided this was an abuse of the parent's rights to decide a child's name and a lengthy court battle ensued. Eventually the father backed down and junior got a new, less demonic name.
Has Japan banned any other names? Lots. Names must use one of the 2,232 'name kanji' characters decided by the government.

*Found this on Yahoo (I'd go with "Smelly Head" any day)

Sunday, March 11, 2012

How's the Weather?

Bluberry Pancakes!

MANAGEMENT BULLETIN: As a result of Roong's latest culinary triumph, I shall refrain from bitching about not having a McDonalds or Taco Bell here for a period of, but not to exceed, one week!

Roong wanted to make pancakes this morning. I thought that was a great idea, but was secretly snickering a bit inside. Roong is a great cook, but I tease her a lot about her wanting to cook everything in a wok. Pancakes are cooked on a griddle! A flat hot surface. Just the basic physics of this whole plan was doomed from the start. Or, so I thought.

It turns out that "Suu noi" (little tiger) eventually got a handle on the whole thing. Her natural stubbornness pays off  ... occasionally. I tried to make a few, but they came out a little too dark. Then Roong took back over, and even though the blue colored batter freaked her out a bit, she finally figured out how to get them right. A few of the first ones did have to be thrown away, but we salute those flapjacks that gave their all so that others (namely me) could chow down in a free and honey covered society! Yep, I get honey fresh out of the hive here instead of syrup. Damn, that stuff is good! It doesn't taste anything like the stuff you get at the store. You can actually taste a mild flower flavor in it.

Anyway, due to our learning curve, we ended up having breakfast at about 11am. But, it was well worth the wait. I may ask her to give the lasagna another try.

T-shirt Biz Nuuz

I have news from the tee biz front. I have hooked up with a guy named Chris who lives up in Chaing Mai, and he is going to help me get a decent t-shirt blog up and running. Chris has a lot of blogs and websites, but I know him from his "Living in Thailand" blog. He writes about anything and everything related to what goes on around here, and what you need to know to survive it. He even has a book that helps you learn to speak Thai. His blog is an interesting and sometimes very funny read, even if you don't live here. So, get ye hence and checketh it out!

This is the only blog that I have that I mess with so far. I just keep this for a place to bitch about stuff, or say whatever I want to. I do like to write, but have never done it enough to get good at it. Chris says that is something I have to work on. He is talking about a 800 word post a day, or so. That's going to be rough at first, because I don't consider myself a t-shirt design guru, but must come across as one. I am sure that I will totally obsess over this word count thing too. I even found an auto word counter online. He says that if I just focus on giving straight forward useful information, that with practice, I should be Ok. I hope so because if you can write, you can make money on the internet, and that's a fact. Content! Content! Content! We'll see.

The name of the blog will be "Tshirt Designs Ideas". When Chris first suggested that, I stared at it for quite a while. It doesn't exactly roll off the tongue. It's that "s" on "designs" that kept making me make the "huh?" face. I did some checking, but couldn't find anything better that was available. It seems that everyone has already bought all the good keywords so that they can sell them back to you for $1500. That blows! Yeah yeah, I know that if you can grab the good words first, it's a good business to be into. But it still hits me as ebay gone bad. If you aren't going to use it, leave it alone so I can afford it damn it!

I am not sure when the "Tshirt Designs Ideas" blog will be up and running yet. I still have 2 weeks of school left, and about 720 final exams to give and grade. But, after that I have about a month off, so that's when I am going to get at this new blog thing, and try to become at least a tolerably decent writer. I will let you know when something happens.

Oh, this post has 483 words in it. (see, I told you this would happen!)

Pre-rainy season Show

We had our first 2 hour rain storm of the year this evening, and you know what that means....Yep, it rains for 2 hours and then the electricity goes off for 4 hours! Every time it rains, we loose power. I hate living in the damn boonies! I do have to give our storms here credit for one thing though, they sure put on a hell of a light show. There's always a lot of lightning when it rains here. We have everything from those huge bolts that almost deafen you, to these really wild ones that remind me of those 4th of July fireworks that were a bunch of small orange crackling lines that spidered out from the main explosion and cover the sky. I have never seen those anywhere else besides here.

Normally, I would just bail and go to Ban-nok to wait it out, but it was too late for that. Ead never seems to loose power at her place, and if she does, it's only for a little while. After about 3 hours, we lost the water too. Roong put candles all over the place so we could see. I have no doubt that we will be spending tomorrow scraping wax off things!

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Thailand Has Baseball!

Who knew? I found out by accident. I remembered that it is getting close to World League Baseball Tournament time, so I was looking for info on the net, and stumbled across it. The Thai team apparently played in the last tournament, but got knocked out before the semi-final rounds. I heard that they did beat the Philippines in the SEA games though. That's Ok, they are a very young team, and need experience to grow. I am glad Roong will have a team to cheer for next year. I think she is tired of watching the Thai volleyball team get their asses kicked by all of the amazons that are about 2 ft taller than they are.

Roong found a few photos on the web, and even some Youtube videos, but they are in Thai which explains why I had never seen them before.

Here's a shot of the new Thai baseball team learning some baseball basics. I don't quite remember line dancing as being an integral part of core baseball fundamentals, but what the hell, whatever works for ya man!

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Sunday, March 04, 2012

If I have a sexual urge, I should play football!


What should you do when you have a sexual urge?

A. Play football with friends.
B. Talk to your family.
C. Try to go to sleep.
D. Go out with a friend of the opposite sex.
E. Go to a movie with your buddy.

No, this isn't a quiz question from an old edition of Loaded magazine, it's an Ordinary National Educational Test (Onet) exam question set for Grade 12 students in Thailand. The answer is, of course, "A", said National Institute of Educational Testing Services (NIETS) director Dr Samphan Phanphrut. He explained this question was intended to check whether the students understood the nature of sexual desire and how to control or respond to it.

MY first question is, does this apply to both boys and girls, and can they play football together?

I now understand that my priorities have been wrong all these years and that I should have been playing more football in my younger years. Well, we live and learn. Some people had a rather scathing analysis of how this curious question about sexual desire fits in with Thailand's education system as a whole.

Are Thai youth being well served by the Thai education system? The answer at least from the perspective of sex education seems to be a resounding “No.”

Oh, and BTW, it's SOCCER, damn it! Not football, SOCCER!

Facebook made me pregnant!

Facebook causes teen pregnancies!

Seems logical when you think about it. Thailand has one of the highest rates of teen pregnancy in the world, and I am not sure that you could find a teeny bopper here that isn't on Facebook.

With this in mind, Thailand's National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB) reached the conclusion as young people aged 18-24 are the most prolific demographic on Facebook, this must have something to do with the 120,000 unplanned teen pregnancies there are each year.

The board said that the social media growth is to blame for the teen pregnancy problems as many youngsters post seductive messages or video clips online. It couldn't possibly have anything to do with Thailand's near non-existent school sex education program. No, that can't be it, can it?.

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