Sunday, December 25, 2005

Now For Something Completely Different

Christmas Eve in Pattaya. Walking through the snow with your family to a candlelight church service perhaps? Nah... Walking through waist deep styrofoam with your honey to get a beer!

Steve at TQ2 sure has an interesting way to throw a Christmas Party... and the remnants of his party will be blowing up and down Walking Street for the next 2 months.

If anyone from Pattaya reads this post, you can get sloppy seconds on the styrofoam tonight at TQ1 on Beach Road.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Paraphrasing the Attorney General

QUESTION: Where did you get the authority to do this monitoring without court permission?

ANSWER: Congress gave it to us when they authorized the war in Afghanistan.

QUESTION: Why didn't you ask Congress to adjust the law so that getting court permission for the monitoring would be easier?

ANSWER: We were told that Congress would have said no.

To quote Kos, "Wow."

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Chrome Pole Report

Once a month, Steve of TQ2 does the leg work for his once-a-month "Out for a Beer" column. So he, Bob, Ray, and I went out... for much more than just "a beer".

First we got warmed up at TQ2 with the regular insane buy-a-round game going on at full blast. For the first time, I actually managed to buy a round myself! It was ugly from the get-go though, with me putting away 6 beers and 3 vodka tonics before the official bar hopping got underway.

First, we wandered all the way down to the far end of Walking Street and tried out Club Boesché (pronounced "Boo-shay") which was quite nice really. There was a hot tub built into the floor, a glass-walled shower, and a glass-floored stage upstairs that will put a crick in your neck. Unfortunately, I was already too far gone at this point to notice whether any of the girls were pretty or not. I tacked on 4 Bacardi Breezers at that bar.

Then, it was back down Walking Street a short way to Teasers... another new gogo bar. We lasted for one drink at that place as it was kind of crap... I think. I really don't remember.

After that, it was off to Dollhouse where Steve started buying pitchers of frozen kamikazes. I think I knocked back 6 or 7 shots of that stuff before surrendering and saying my goodbyes.

That was easily the most drinking I have done in a single night in a decade... possibly ever. It probably wouldn't have been so bad if I hadn't been all over the map with my drink choices... but Monday was a complete loss. It's now Tuesday evening and I've finally made it back to 100% only recently.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Only In Thailand

The motorcycle taxi guys up at the top of the soi very kindly put up this sign at the bottom of the soi for pick-up service. You would think that if they cared enough to have a nice, high-quality sign like this made, they would care enough to get the spelling right.

"Motorbite Service"?

Out For Dinner

Went to dinner last night at Dr. Dave and Ahm's apartment in North Pattaya. Nice view!
We had pasta and pork steaks which were exceptional.

Trip to the Store


Actually, you would think with an appearance and name like that, this would be a fruit that would have a taste that would make quite an impression. It doesn't though. It's very mild... almost bland.

In other news however, one more thing from America that was dearly missed has found its' way to Thailand: Ben & Jerry's ice cream, currently being sold at Tops Supermarket on Second Road. Woo!



I found this photo in the Pattaya Mail.

Yes... that's His Majesty, and yes, he's shaking hands in a manner that says that he is entirely comfortable with it.

Well, I remember what I saw back on TV at the ASEAN summit. Weird.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Friday Cat Blogging

They really do fall asleep like this all the time.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Whatever You Say George

"Of course, there will be debate, and of course, there will be some pessimists and some people playing politics with the issue," he said. "But, by far, the vast majority of the people in this country stand squarely with the men and women who wear the nation's uniform."

Yes they do, Mr. President... but they sure don't stand squarely with you.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Untitled By Boredom

Slow news day here at the Wrinkle Residence Thailand Branch. Woke up, worked. Took a nap, worked. Ate some lunch, worked. Pretty much continuing on in that vein until bedtime... although perhaps some television and a beer beforehand may come into play. I'll keep you posted.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Happy Birthday, King Bhumibol

Today is a big holiday in Thailand... the king's birthday. King Bhumibol Adulyadej is 78 years old today, born in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1927, and is the world's longest-reigning monarch, taking his place in 1946.

I read an essay today about the king, and one line stuck out as to what the King means to Thai people: "His Majesty the King is well recognised as the heart and soul of the Thai nation."

My personal way of putting it, is that King Bhumibol is the link between the Thai people and the Thai nation and the embodiment and keeper of Thai culture.

My personal opinion of King Bhumibol is very high because he has been a very proactive and involved monarch, going around the country solving problems, enacting social welfare programs, and even acting in a scientific role by creating water aeration systems to enliven stagnant water, and cloud-seeding technology. It is exceptionally difficult to find another monarch in history who has been as peacefully beneficial to his people as this caring man.

Happy birthday!

What Time Is It?

When westerners hear time given on a 24-hour clock, a.k.a. military time, we automatically do a conversion to a 12-hour clock in our minds. So when we hear 17:00, we automatically convert to 5:00 p.m.

Thai people operate on a 6-hour clock, so when they hear time given in 12-hour increments, they convert it to a 6-hour basis. So therefore, it could be 3:00 in the night, 3:00 in the morning, 3:00 in the afternoon, or 3:00 in the evening.

That's why Thai people get so confused when somebody talks in English about late-night hours as 2:00 in the morning. To a Thai person, their 2:00 in the morning is our 8:00 a.m.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Blogger Integrity

Writing a blog is like playing Solitaire. You have to write on your honor.

A week or two ago I wrote how the dry cool season had finally arrived, and we wouldn't be seeing another cloud until sometime in April.

Well, the total effin' deluge that we've had for the past 2 days means that evidence of my being exceptionally mistaken exists on my own blog! A blogger with no morals would go back and delete that post, while a blogger with good moral standards would admit to being wrong. See?

Anyway, the whole point of this post?

It's raining. Oops.

Happy Holi... Christmas

Bill O'Reilly sure is funny. He is talking about the War On Christmas while his online store is selling "O'Reilly Factor Holiday Ornaments". Heheh.

But of course, in all dorky feel-good activist movements, you get one example of people getting a little bit carried away: In Sapulpa, Oklahoma, overzealous defenders of Christmas are demanding that their Chamber of Commerce change the name of the "Winterfest Christmas Parade" because... well... it doesn't focus on the word Christmas quite enough. No really. The Chamber of Commerce says they have no plans to join the insanity at this time.

Well, Christmas Merry to all of you in Sapulpa.

Oh... and just in case Bill O'Reilly is reading my blog:

EASTER: Originally a Saxon word (Eostre), denoting a goddess of the Saxons, in honour of whom sacrifices were offered about the time of the Passover. GO GET 'EM BILL!


I thought this was a nice photo of green stuff taken while sitting at my desk. (Notice the coconuts in the upper left corner of the picture? I've got to get one of those down and see what it's all about.) The low building in the foreground is the pump house for the pool. The building in the background is the neighbors.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

That Beetle

Well, it seems that I was ever so clever by writing how the beetle I found at my desk this morning looked not unlike a piece of jewelry, as what I had discovered (and fled in search of clean undies) was a "Jewel Beetle".

Here is a photo I found online taken with a hand not trembling in fear.

Interesting Stuff

I was reading this story about a teenage boy in Nepal who has been meditating under a peepal tree for the past 6 months without food or water. I figured that if you stop by at 3:00 in the morning, you'll find the kid wolfing down pepperoni pizza.

Then I read this story about an old fakir from India who spent 10 days in a hospital with neither food nor water. Real 24-hour a day medical supervision, inside and out.

Pretty cool... but not for me. I'll stick with the constant supply of burgers and pasta, thank you.

(Now, when you can show me people not sleeping for weeks on end — and aren't meth addicts — then you'll pique my own thirst for knowledge.)

Do Thai People Like President Bush?

If there is one moment that defines the Bush presidency, it is one that almost no American has heard of... unless he or she lives in Thailand.

Flash back to the APEC Summit in Bangkok where all the leaders of countries which touch the Pacific ocean went to talk trade. Thailand was so proud. The news coverage was constant. There was even a special english channel broadcasting round-the-clock CSPAN-type coverage.

Big dinner at the Grand Palace. Cocktails beforehand. Twenty or thirty world leaders hobnobbing with other dignitaries. Live TV. Every person in Thailand ready to burst with pride.

Then, the big event: The procession. Japan, Phillippines, Korea, China, Mexico, Chile, Australia, Indonesia, Canada, America! All the great leaders make their way from the grand hall to the dining hall, passing by the royal family, who are the hosts, and are standing in a line greeting all the guests. Yes: The king on live TV. Truly a special moment for Thailand.

"President Vincente Fox of Mexico, and his wife," intoned the announcer in English, "now being greated by his majesty." Vincente Fox does a handsome half-bow before the king.

"Prime Minister John Howard of Australia, and his wife. Chatting a little there. His majesty speaks excellent English."

"Please note no one will shake the king's hand as it goes against Thai culture to touch the king. All of the dignitaries have been repeatedly told this very important rule."

"President George Bush of... oh MY."

You could feel an entire country gasp as George Bush's hand shot from his side like he was unholstering it. The king actually grew an inch taller, spine straightening in surprise. Then, like he was remembering from his college days, gently put his hand forward. President Bush grabbed that hand, and with the other hand, grabbed the king's wrist, and gave it a hearty campaign-trail how-ya-doin shake.

So do Thai people like President Bush? What do you think?

Bush: 55% of Americans Deeply Irresponsible

"Those Democratic congressional leaders who try to suggest that we don't have a plan [to achieve victory] are deeply irresponsible," said White House spokesman Scott McClellan, who reiterated it was possible to bring some troops home next year.

A snap poll by CNN/Gallup/USA Today this week said 55 percent of respondents believed Bush did not have a plan to "achieve victory for the United States in Iraq."
By putting these two paragraphs directly together in their story, Reuters shows that they actually have some cojones.

Catholic Craziness

Fifty, forty, or thirty years ago, young conflicted gay men had very few choices in what to do with themselves sexually. Most chose "the big lie", got married and had families... and got along reasonably well, and still do. Others headed for the big city to join the avant garde, the artisans, the posh queer underground of dinner parties and theater, to be gay.

For many though, they headed for the seminaries to become priests. The most conservative estimates state that one in four priests is a celibate homosexual (while many estimates place it at higher than half). Their faith allowed them to sweep their discomfort with being gay under the rug... hopefully. (If their sexuality did overcome celibacy, hopefully it was with a fellow, willing adult and not a nearby child.)

Truth be told however, those most likely to abuse were those most closeted — even, or especially, to themselves. "Gay maturity" is the phrase to be understood. Similar to the general "sexual maturity," it means the ability to be comfortable with yourself, your desires, and your expectations. If you are mature, you can express your sexuality to a fellow adult. If you are immature, you find the ignorant — those who do not yet have desires and expectations of their own — the easiest targets.

The catch-22 is this: In today's more tolerant society, more gay men are reaching gay maturity. The openess and frankness that comes with gay maturity means fewer gay man will opt for the priesthood (or heterosexual marriage). This is the principal reason why the Catholic church is experiencing a lack of men entering the seminaries.

The Vatican has recently compounded this situation with an instruction to seminaries which basically states that anybody who is "really gay" cannot enter seminary. (Those who somehow aren't so gay are still okay for the diaconate.) What this translates as is that gay-mature candidates are out, and gay-immature candidates are in. Which are the gay priests most likely to abuse children? Exactly.


I found this 2-inch-long fellow on my desk this morning next to my keyboard. He was so bright and shiny — even his legs looked metallic — that I thought perhaps he was jewelry or a toy found by Go and left for me.
But no, when I blew a gust of wind on him, his legs started twitching and his wings (yes... apparently this thing can go airborne) started flapping. So I snapped this picture to record the natural beauty of the thing, and then screamed at the top of my lungs like a sissy and ran for my life.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Trip Home

Took had to take the bus down to Chantaburi today to renew her ID card.

It's always an expensive proposition, Thai girls going home. It always involves a trip with the family to the local shopping mart to buy 50 pounds of laundry detergent, a cubic yard of tissue paper, a 20-kilo sack of rice... and much, much more. (The 3 items above cost, oh, about 3 dollars, so...)

Fortunately, I didn't go. I refuse to go visit parents anymore. I refuse to have them come visit me. I've decided that I have to know a girl for a lot longer than a few months before I meet her parents. (Fortunately, Took wholeheartedly agrees with this policy.)

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Photo From Bush's Annapolis Speech Yesterday


One of the most common mental illnesses in the world is actually excessive religious faith... in America, principally in Christianity: Some people invest so much of themselves into living a perfect Christian life that they are no longer able to function effectively in a society that they believe is evil. It's a standard cult mindset. However, when that cult behavior is actually excessive faith in Jesus, America tends to think differently... even positively... about that person's mental state. But whether it is faith in Jesus, Allah, Buddha, Xenu, Jim Jones, or the Hale Bopp comet, incapacitating faith is a sad thing to see, and very difficult to cure.

This video, while most people are finding it quite funny, to me is quite disturbing. It's from a television program called "Trading Spouses." A Christian woman was sent to live with (I don't have all the details) somebody who apparently was of a pagan faith. What the producers of the show apparently didn't realize was that this lady has this mental illness, and her mind simply was not able to cope with the "evil" she was confronted with.

Unfortunately, there are far too many people in America who, when faced with experiences that directly confront their over-zealous Christian faith, they become quite agitated and extremely emotional. Anyone who goes stark raving mad at having been exposed to people who do not share their religion or beliefs is... in truth... Christian or not... stark raving mad.

Anyway, if you think I'm full of shit, watch the video and see first-hand what I'm talking about.


Sake... rice wine: The ultimate soporific; the alkie's herbal tea; the spring-loaded velvet hammer; the crepuscular sedative of choice for me. One steaming teacup full of the redolent brew brings a listless torpor leading to insensate slumber.

Five steaming teacups of sake leads to a technicolor yawn and a daybreak cranial torment that would burst the skull of an elephant.

This post is brought to you by the letter T (for Tylenol and thesaurus).

p.s. Word to the wise: If you are going to be revisiting your food, make sure it isn't ultra-spicy jalapeno-laden salsa sauce.
abraded, aching, aggrieved, battered, blistered, bruised, chafed, cut, damaged, distressed, exposed, grazed, harmed, impaired, lacerated, marred, mauled, mutilated, pained, peeled, scarred, scraped, scratched, sensitive, skinned, sore, stricken, suffering, tender, tortured, umbrageous, wounded, zinged.

How Is The New Maid Doing?

My family can attest to my fastidious nature. When I was 12 years old, I would get bored and spend 5 hours re-arranging the kitchen cabinets from top to bottom... which any normal 12-year-old (and most psychologists) will tell you is borderline neurotic.

Fortunately though, I understand that most people (including maids) do not operate on the same level of organization and tidiness that I do. Therefore people who work for me only have to keep the house in a general state of cleanliness to keep me happy.

Go, my new maid... she's on my level. I'm quite sure that it has nothing to do with her desire to keep her job or make me happy. No: She putters around cleaning everything like her sanity depended on it. Took tells me that Go simply gets edgy if she sits around too long not doing something. Look at my closet. Each one of those towels, unfolded, is a different size. That grey shirt is a lounge-around tank top, ironed and folded within an inch of it's life.

Look at this drawer in the kitchen. Do you know what those are? They are plastic grocery bags, each one pressed flat, and then folded and tucked into neat little triangles, stored away for use in holding rubbish or what-have-you.

Oh... and I won't even talk about the perfect condition of the yard: There isn't a square inch of anything I own that doesn't get a daily going over by SuperMaid©.

All this for $175 per month plus $1 a day for food. Boo-yah.

Dinner Last Night

One of the greatest dishes I learned from my college days of studying restaurant management was "stuffed flank steak". You take a big, thick, flat flank steak, slice it through it flat-wise so it opens like a book, and then pound it flat. Then you layer a vegetable stuffing on top of the meat, roll it up like a sleeping bag, tie it in a bundle, then coat the whole thing with honey mustard and then bread crumbs. Then you bake it, slice it up like a meatloaf, and cover it in a red wine sauce.

Or at least that is how I remember it from 10 years ago... the last time I cooked it.

Things started going wrong right from the beginning: First, you can't get flank steak in Thailand. (I asked Bob, the meat expert, via phone from the market, and he confirmed this.) I bought just regular steak instead. Bad idea: Flank steak is crap... really tough, but for this recipe, toughness is a good thing since you want to slice it tween, beat it paper-thin and roll it up. My steak fell apart. I managed to get the stuffing right, and roll it up, but the loaf was barely holding together. I covered the thing with honey mustard, rolled it in bread crumbs and put it in the oven.

The sauce really went bad. I forgot completely how to make it and wasted a whole $8 bottle of wine trying to get it right. It was so wrong.

The loaf came out, but the middle wasn't cooked well. That didn't really matter because trying to slice it and the entire thing just collapsed into a big pile of meat and stuffing... which sounds nice, but it was exceptionally bland without the sauce.

I tried my best to eat my mistake, but it really was beyond all hope. I gave the rest to my maid Go, who said she wanted to take it out, separate the meat from the stuffing, and try to make something Thai out of it.

Not so big a deal, except for wasting the bottle of wine. There are lots of recipes on-line for stuffed flank steak that I can turn to next time, but with no flank steak in the kingdom, it's pointless to try again.