Monday, December 31, 2007

The Little Party

"Come to our house for New Years! We're having a little party for some friends."

I tried to picture it, but I left room for surprises, I've been around this block before. "We" is a nice young couple, both Ajan's, professors of some junior stripe. He was kind enough to pick me up, and insisted on driving me home too, home I could have taken a cab. We got there and it was one of the most lavish, palatial gated communities in Thailand, no lie, up the block there was a giant party thrown by a big time general, army, at the home of his wife number three (at the same time, of course), which was so elaborate that at midnight they had their own fireworks and it was like Dodger Stadium, there must have been fifty helmeted police there, and all of the help were dressed as cowboys and the guests got hats and bandannas too.

My party was less elaborate, but my host turned out to be a big shot too. It was the Ajan wife's family; her father was the president of our university for almost fifteen years, now semi-retired and on the board of directors. I made him love me before I found out he was so big time, that worked out pretty good.

Lots of university big-wigs were there, we all got pretty lit. The food was great, including rack-of-lamb chops, New Zealand, and Australian red wine, not cheap. There was an endless stream of people dropping by to give the boss a giant gift basket for New Years, on their knees no less, this is grown, rich people.

Quite a lot of talk about politics, even direct questions to me. I protested that I was just a guest in Thailand and answered elliptically. Politics here is besides the point, the culture is really in the driver's seat, politics just gets the garbage picked up. As it should be.

All in all, a very good use of my time.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Happy New Year!

I think of you all and I value you all in my way, and I wish you all a Happy New Year, quite sincerely, because most of you actually deserve it and the rest, well, I'm just feeling the holiday spirit.

So drive safely, keep your identities to yourselves, eat and drink in moderation, and never say anything on a cell phone that you would not say directly to an FBI agent.


The Floating Market, Etc

"Tomorrow we will go to the floating market . . . do you want to come?" Well, yes so off we went. A little easier to get found, since I was picked up at the same 7-11, the "do you know the 7-11" 7-11. I know enough not to guess what we'd actually be doing, but I was pretty sure we'd be going to the Bangkok floating market. I even mentioned it and was not contradicted. So we set off.

And we drove to another province, compass directions are so hard to follow here, the river twists and turns pell mell, the sun is always directly overhead, there are no mountains, or even hills. It was a nice market, lots of fun food, the little eggs, roti, different kinds of grilled this and that, Thai sausage, star fruit as big as Dallas. About eleven we were ready to go, I wondered idly if we were heading home, I could use a nap, I thought.

First we went to a museum, the Thai Cultural Museum, which was closed for New Year's, but located under the approaches of a really nice group of bridges, there's at least four, maybe five, giant beautiful new bridges with high, graceful approaches, that was fun.

Then we set off for the "orange farm." You can't imagine the incredible maze of turns that our driver made to find both the floating market and the "orange farm." I couldn't have pointed to downtown Bangkok if my life depended on it, oh, wait, there is no downtown Bangkok. The "orange farm" turned out to be the remote home of a poor couple who made a living making gift baskets out of palm fronds, very fancy, and they kept oranges on hand to fill them. My ajan bought a nice one.

Then we went a long, long way to the house of the ajan's sister. It was a palace in a gated community somewhere, I believe, to the east and/or south of Bangkok, not too far, a district of Bangkok, I'm pretty sure. The family was very nice, I especially enjoyed talking to the son, he'd just come back from thirteen years in Maryland and Washington, D.C., got a BA and an MA and some good work experience.

Then we all went to lunch. My driver knew a very good place, "close by." I sat in the big Mercedes next to the driving son, it was great. We drove over bridges and through moors and gradually left civilization well behind. Something like twenty bridges all together. Little ones, over canals. We got to where land was being reclaimed from the sea, it was like being in Holland, but with palm trees. We drove so far that I was glad I had my passport. As it turned out, we'd driven to another province. "Close by" my ass. But the place was very good, all seafood, all excellent.

I finally got back home at six p.m. Tra-la-la-la . . . line up for the Magical Mystery Tour!

Friday, December 28, 2007


No surprise, but Thailand is so disorganized. A couple of weeks ago I took a Saturday trip to a remote campus with a couple of Ajans. "Be at the Big C at six thirty," were my instructions, clear as a bell. I was there, early of course. After a while I got a call, where are you? Well, I'm at the Big C. After a little bit of trying to tell me where to go, I was told to wait for the research assistant. She showed up in about five minutes and walked me back to the car, an exhausting in the heat almost ten minutes for me, lots of steps were involved, those I can't do fast anymore.

Today, another trip to a remote campus, meet me . . . I volunteered to be at the Major Cineplex, close to where I had to walk to the last time. Again, six thirty. I was there, early again. Finally at ten to seven I called the Ajan. Where are you? Well, I'm at the Major just like I said. After trying to tell me where to go for about five minutes on a cell phone on a typically loud Thai main road, she says to me, can you come to the 7-11? I had already seen five 7-11's this morning, and there's one around every corner, but I resisted the temptation to say something sarcastic. "Wait there, Nong (research assistant) will come and get you."

"Can you find the 7-11 again," well, yes, because now I know which of the 7,000 7-11's there are in Bangkok. It was seven o'clock. "I hope that you weren't waiting for me long."

No, we just got here. Half an hour late, I got up in the dark for nothing and that Hour of the Wolf, the hour before sunrise, humans really like to sleep through that hour. At least I do.

This could be so easy. There's no traffic, it would take literally five minutes to pick me up close to my apartment at a place certain. As it is, I have a considerable walk and then dodgy public transportation and then another good walk to get to Big C or Major, it all takes a half a hour, and then there's the half hour when the Thai person tries to find me, although I'm at the place that we agreed upon and everyone knows were it is.

But if it were well organized, it wouldn't be Thailand anymore, it would be Germany or something, and being Thailand is better.

Thursday, December 27, 2007


I have a strange hero-set. As a young boy I thought that Steven Decatur (spelling?) fit the bill, he of the wildly successful naval expedition against the Tripoli pirates, as in "to the shores of Tripoli," I thought he was one gutsy son of a gun. Four thousand miles of ocean away from home, in sailboats, and then start gunfights with guys who live there, and totally kick their asses for them, yeah, those guys had guts.

I also liked several WWII pilots. Now I'd say the bomber pilots were heroic, keeping the plane straight and level with all those 88's firing away at you. But then it was a couple of fighter pilots, Butch O'Hare, whose brother I actually knew, four degrees of separation from Al Capone, but that's another story, and Saburo Sakai, a Zero pilot who flew a damaged plane to his far away base with a .50 cal. slug stuck in the back of his head, yes, that's what I said.

I also admired the greatest ground attack pilot in history, past or future, no one will ever match this guy, Hans Ulrich Rudel. This guy flew against the Russians for four years and ran up a total of over five hundred tanks, a similar number of trucks, and one battleship, moored at the time, right down the stack. Plus, after the amputation of one leg, he was flying Focke-Wolfe's at the end of the war and was credited with quite a few kills at that enterprise too. I did not initially know, and later chose to view separately, his ardent defense of Nazism to the end of his life in South America, a peaceful death in old age. All these guys are on the web.

Then I learned something of the world and Martin Luther King was a hero to me. His death only sealed his hero status, I figured it was coming, that was heroic too.

And Benazir Butto. She is, was, five years younger than me. I became aware of her, I suppose I was about thirty, I thought she was hot. Then later I realized that she was really, really smart. Then later she achieved hero status. She could have led a quiet, very, very prosperous life, but chose instead to join in the "dialog" of that crazy cluster-f*ck that is (redacted). God bless her, and if there's a heaven, I'll get to meet her someday. Keep the ice cold, baby, and the bar stocked.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Part Two: the Fly in the Oitment

All of the bootleg software has little peculiarities. I had Sound Forge, a four hundred dollar program, I paid 139 Baht. It was a teaser version, set to stop working after a certain number of saves. All I had to do at that point was uninstall it and reinstall it, and I got the certain number of saves all over again. I repeated this process many times.

On this computer, this one here in front of me, all of the Microsoft is bootleg. When you bring up Word, it takes about four minutes. First it says, like, this feature did not install properly, please insert CD now, then it kind of fools around like, Word is looking for your settings or something. After you close a few dialog boxes and wait for it to think a little you can get started. The program seems to run okay.

My last computer wouldn't run MS Word Help, the Help files weren't on the bootleg.

There's a good reason Thai's put up with these software imperfections:

Thai's don't have the money for the real stuff. They don't buy bootlegs because they are evil. Thai's, like most people around the world with limited wherewithal, are masters of the backdoor acquisition, especially if that is the only way that they are going to watch bootleg DVD's on their computers.

If the price was in line with reality, maybe they'd get in line

Thai Computers

Last year a joint American-Thai commission was formed to see what could be done about software piracy in Thailand. Microsoft donated all the computers, and an office was set up in Bangkok. After a while, some Microsoft big-wigs came over to see how it was going. Within days they realized that all the computers in the office were running bootleg Microsoft software.

I can tell you that when they brought this up to the Thai commission members they would have been met by that, "Farang have the damnedest ideas" look, like adults being patient with petulant children. What did you expect? You think we're made of money?

Anyone who wants hundreds of dollars for a cd and a badly written pamphlet is asking for it, and in Asia, they get it.

My new lap-top, for instance, came with a teaser version of Power DVD, a good program, it sunsets in thirty days, the teaser that is. It says, come to our website and get Power DVD now! Bear in mind, this is an Asia lap-top, Asian company, Asian electronics and plugs, Thai keyboard, all Asia. I went to the website and they want one hundred dollars for the program, as a download, no hard copy, get back to us if you want it on your desk-top as well. That's one hundred dollars American, $100, which is about Baht 3,700 or so. That's half a month's pay for a new teacher, not to mention the half of the Thai population that is just out of the lap-top-luck doing shitty jobs for about the cost of the program for a month's work.

Now also bear in mind that you can go to any computer mall and buy Power DVD for about B125. One hundred and twenty five Baht. And what do you expect people to do?

Friday, December 21, 2007

Mr. Fred's Poetry Corner: The Thing

If I do say so myself, I really like this one.

The Thing

Pressure building,
Grey skin fast
Against the terrors of the deep,
Dark shape
In ice cold water,
Quiet, peaceful . . . another world.

Muffled voices,
Souls consumed in better times,
But now the tension is complete.
The thing can neither breathe
Nor eat, but only be
In placid vigilance.

Diving now,
To dull depths descending,
Leaving only gentle foam,
Rising, disappearing.
No sinister purpose, it glides
Now half asleep: all savage innocence.

No enemies,
Save what past and future be.
Strength to crush entire realms,
The ruler of the sea,
And of men’s fates.

Sensing others of its kind,
It takes no notice, majestic,
Undisturbed in its long journey.
Blunt nose and tapering tail,
It is dead, and yet it moves
With restless energy.

Dead eyes, but unknown power
To sense, to find, to receive.
The fire in its belly,
Quiet now, awaiting a signal
That only it will know, and then,
With will and spark,
It will seek to destroy.

Grey skin, fins are
Making small adjustments,
Driving now, not predator,
Not prey, but subject to either condition.
Its passage noticed by lesser creatures
Who move away instinctively.

Coiled to spring
If given ruthless meaning,
Waiting, with supernatural patience,
Never losing focus, attentive,
But even it cannot bear its
Tense reality without respite.

More it cannot bear,
Ascending now, the pressure less and less,
In growing light, it breaks the surface,
Crashing! Thunder!
The endless tension exploding, in the light now,
Taking on the attitude of a pleasure craft,
Making idly for shore.
The sea settles and the thing appears at rest.

Anybody catch the quote from "The Crow?" I love that line.

Apologies to Francophiles Everywhere

Yesterday I met the European language teachers, two Spanish ladies, Ladies of Spain, so to speak; a nice Russian lady, my age, who had the same reasons as me for staying in Thailand: Siberia, not surprisingly, made her joints hurt, I told her, baby, I understand, even Los Angeles makes my joints hurt; two Frenchmen, more on that later; and three German teachers, two quite conventional, women, thirty-something women, with hairy arms and big noses, very tall, and one startlingly unconventional: an African man from Mali, Dr. Salif, highly educated and very handsome, his German was perfect and his English was also superb. The Greek teacher of Greek looked so standoffish that I stood well off him.

On my arrival I took a seat, I thought, among the Spanish teachers, most of whom I had met several days ago, hence my invitation to today’s event. To my right was a lady that I’d not met, naturally, by natural instinct that is, mine and every other man’s, I spoke to her first. After that had gone pretty well for a while I asked her if the fellow sitting on my left was Spanish.

Let me backtrack a little. When I sat down, my first horrifying thought was, is that me? There was a terrible smell. After I satisfied myself that no, it was rather the fellow to my left, I had zeroed in on the Spanish woman, kind of cute in a hairy, Southern European way, I am forgiving on those issues. Now back to our narrative.

She told me, no, he’s French! What a cliché! Paul B. was telling me just before I left (redacted) that the French use less soap per capita than any other people in the world. And as long ago as the 1950’s, discriminating relatives were warning me that the French concept of home heating was “the sweater.” And why do they call a “French Bath” a “French Bath?” Like on a very cold day, when it’s been weeks since you’ve sweated at all, and you just take little bits of water and clean your pits.

What a fascinating little zoo! My new playground. Between the teachers and watching the students try to master the intricacies of German articles this will keep me entertained for some time.

Flushing, Queens

From Simon Jenkins, an Englishman:

"This Christmas marks the 350th anniversary of the least-honoured genesis of American freedom, to be celebrated in the New York suburb of Queens. For only the fourth time in its history a fragile piece of paper called the Flushing Remonstrance will go on display.

"Written in 1657 by the English citizens of the Long Island village of Flushing, it asserted their right to freedom of conscience against the autocracy of Peter Stuyvesant, the Dutch governor of their colony of New Netherland. It thus long predated the “self-evident truths” of Jefferson’s 1776 Declaration of Independence.

"The Flushing Remonstrance protested against Stuyvesant’s arrest, torture and expulsion of a Quaker preacher for defying his ban on all religions but Dutch Reformed protestantism. The 30 signatories were not themselves Quakers but demanded that in the new colony: 'If any persons . . . Presbyterian, Independent, Baptist or Quaker . . . come in love to us, we cannot in conscience lay violent hands upon them.' Indeed they demanded that 'the law of love, peace and liberty . . . [extend] to Jews, Turks and Egyptians . . . which is the glory of the outward state of Holland and condemns hatred, war and bondage'. The citizens of Flushing ringingly declared: 'Let every man stand or fall to his own Master.' "

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

In the Dogroverse

I love to watch dogs interact . . . the subtle choreography of canine social intercourse. Before I left my little Northern city I saw this one.

My Dirty-Smelly is a substantial dog, at least forty pounds, but when he was a pup he was badly roughed up by a neighborhood dog. He was bitten, and he bled, and he retains a morbid fear of the other dog to this day. The dog in question is a little white dog, very, very aggressive, very territorial, all far out of proportion to his size.

The little white dog is quite the martinet; he does not walk, he struts; he is a bully to dogs, cows and chickens alike. I don't like him one bit. He has a concubine, a very attractive black and tan bitch. She will join in the bullying of other dogs, especially Dirty-Smelly. She's a nice looking dog, but I don't like her either.

Lately I had noticed another dog in the neighborhood, a large brown, white and black male with huge, bone-crushing, neck-crushing jaws, jaws like a Pit Bull, like a real fighting dog. Very stately he is, almost noble, no owner, I'll warrant, just passing through, he'll stay as long as he can find food. He must weigh sixty pounds, a real canine Hercules.

On the day in question I was idly sitting, reading and drinking, in that order, in the mid-afternoon when I heard a clamour from the dodgroverse. First a whining sound, like a chastised, submitting dog, 'that will be Dirty-Smelly' I correctly guessed. I looked up and saw the black and tan bitch go by, followed closely by the new dog, who was in turn followed closely by the little white dog, who was growling impressively but not showing any teeth at all, not even the tip of one.

The new dog was obviously interested in the bitch, he was following her closely. She proceeded as though disinterested. The little white dog was growling so furiously that it was a little disturbing to listen to. Sometimes he would walk around in front of the new dog as though to impede his progress, thrusting his snout to within an inch of the snout of the new dog and growling, I swear, malevolently.

The new dog would pause momentarily, look away, clench his vast, dangerous jaw muscles, stand still with his ears and tail held high, then turn slightly and begin again to follow the bitch as though the little white dog were not there. The little white dog would then take a few steps off and claw at the ground with desparate energy; then he would begin to growl again and go back to following the new dog.

When I am witness to scenes like this, whether it is dogs, or birds, or whatever animals are involved, I feel witness to the pre-verbal communications of my own kind: the hominids. We were once thus.

The bitch was saying: you boys work it out.
The little white dog sayeth: please don't kill, me but this is my bitch.
The new dog said: the bitch is nothing to me, and you can growl all you want, but if you show me your teeth this is your last day on earth.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Signing In Late

All Thai schools have a system of the teachers signing in every morning. There are clipboards out for the various grades or departments, you find the one with your name on it and sign in. In fact, you sign out too. "Fred Ceely . . . //s// . . . 7:00 . . . //s// . . . 16:30." The times are always the same. The sheets are then collected and binderized and preserved for all time on a bookshelf in the admin office.

So it was no surprise that I sign in here at Ramkhamhaeng. It's the same kind of sheet, the required time entries are 6:00 to 16:30, although no one gets here before 8:00, except me, because I am afraid of the traffic after 7:00.

(Bring up Twilight Zone music . . .) Yesterday I ran into the department secretary. She's the one who set me up with the sign in procedure. Well, it seems that I've been doing it wrong. It took some time for me to understand my error, partly due to the language barrier but mostly due to the incredible nature of her new instructions. My mistake: I've been signing in every morning for that day, like sign Monday morning for Monday. No, no, no.

I must, she explained to me, wait until tomorrow to sign in for today, that is, sign in for Monday on Tuesday. Please no more signing in today, for today. Even better, wait until next Monday and sign in for this whole week, which will be last week.

And people wonder why I love this country. It's a bottomless pit of fascination for one thing.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Mr. Fred's Poetry Corner: "Manchurian Dream."

This new job allows me lots of spare time. Here's proof:

Manchurian Dream

I was alone the other day,
Describing things in my own way,
Then everyone’s favorite Manchu,
The glamorous Professor Dr. Fu,
He visited poor little me.
He was a sorry sight to see,
No little smile, no arching brow,
He was as stood before me now,
A shadow and an echo of
The Fu Manchu that we all love.

I said, “my friend! How good of you!
You have so very much to do,
Come in! That is if you have time,
I’ll get some snacks, perhaps some wine,
Come in and sit down by the heater,
And let me go turn down that speaker.”
He sat and looked down at the floor,
I thought, shit! I can take no more,
“Please tell me friend,” I took his hand,
“What’s up? I’ll help you if I can.”

He wrung his hands and shook his head,
And finally looked up and said,
“I’ve been so bad, and for so long,
And now it is the same old song,
Closeness of death, mortality,
It forces all of us to see,
The foolishness that was our life,
Did we bring happiness or strife?
Who wronged we and by whom were wronged?
You see? It is the same old song.”

“Dear Fu,” I said, “this will not do!
Long years of life are left in you,
In fact, my friend, if I recall,
You’ll last much longer than us all.”
“Oh! Cruel remembrance of those rites!
I sought escape from that cold night,
But I succeeded only too
Prolong the night. Oh! Stupid Fu!
Nearness of death, for you goes quickly,
I’m there forever! Or, damn nearly.

For I have made a long dark night
To hold my deeds up to the light,
Yes now, dear friend, I must explore
The things that I have done before.
The pain and death, can words express?
Yes, now, in old age I confess,
Old age! For me it is old ages!
I confess, these are my wages,
For all the evil I have wrought,
The cruelest fate is all I’ve bought.

All thoughts of England make me sad.
I made those Englishmen so mad!
And all the women, and the slaves,
I’m terribly sorry for the slaves,
The people that I killed return,
I see their faces and I burn
With dread, for sure when we next meet,
It’s me who will confront defeat.
I’m sorry now for all my wrong,
You see it is the same old song!”

“Fu, don’t put up so great a fight,
For who’s to say what’s wrong or right?
The things you did were yours to do,
No need to cry now, dearest Fu.
You were an instrument of doom,
And doom will all the world consume,
Yes with your help or now without,
So stand up with me now and shout!
I’m different now! I’m a new man!
And offer all the help you can.”

“So do you think that all will fade,
And cancel out the bad I’ve made?”
“Yes! Through the lens of greater deeds,
The so-called evil will recede,
And you’ve so long to recompense
The things that you have done come hence.
It’s up to you though, you old sod,
I’d still be proud of your score card.
Some things perhaps were importune,
But it was other’s misfortune.”

“Thanks dear friend! You’ve helped me see
That life’s not over yet for me.
I’ll take that snack now, and the wine,
I see now that I have the time
To give things to the world I’ve wronged.
Great gifts unique to me belong,
And rites I know that can impart
Great happiness to human hearts.
I’ll be a friend to all, no lie,
And hardly anyone will die!”

We Are the Krue Farang

We are the Krue Farang, and life is good. In most aspects, we are not like teachers at all, we are just accessories to the Thai teachers that we work with.

We cannot really talk to students. Even my Masters’ Degree law students miss most of the simple sentences that I say to them so slowly and carefully. The Thai teachers can talk to the students, and do, including about us, in our presence, even if we can understand a little, they know it’s just a little, and they can function as real teachers, at least they know a lot more than the students do, a teacher only needs to be a week or two in front of the students after all.

One of us said, it seems so long ago now, that his co-teacher told him that he was like a tape recorder, the teacher pressed play and he spoke the English words, and he found this attitude confusing and aggravating. But it’s true.

We are just accessories to the Thai teachers, and for them. We don’t participate in the real processes of education, grading, evaluation and counseling, not really, and we are not invited to the meetings, all because the language barrier is almost never successfully crossed.

But life is good for the Krue Farang, although it is an incomplete experience of what it appears to be, much like the kept woman is an incomplete image of a wife. But, the champagne is chilled, the flowers are fresh, the rent is paid and we are only required to be beautiful when called upon to do so. The rest of the time we must only smile and put in our hours, waiting to serve. Like the woman cares for her hair and skin, figure and nails, I bide my time reading and writing, I do love the so-called English language, really an archaic dialect of German onto which has been grafted most of Latin and French, plus a vast treasure trove of words from all of the four corners of the globe. Like the woman I wait patiently and try to be useful when called upon. Not called upon I retreat, I have learned not to step forward too frequently to remind people of their inadequacies.

We are the Krue Farang.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Thank you!

I'm getting some positive feedback, both on these pages and on others. I just want to say that it warms the cockles of my heart, and those of you who know me well know that my cockles always need warming.

Thank you all very much.

A Regular Perry Mason

There are three kinds of lawyers. No, not bad, evil and Satanic, really, there are three kinds of lawyers: 1) office lawyers; 2) book lawyers; and 3) courtroom lawyers.

I won't comment on the quality of my work, the statute of limitations has not run on everything, but for better or for worse I was a courtroom lawyer. I was there all the time. I did lots of trials and appeared at hundreds upon hundreds of motion hearings, not to mention bullshit hearings like name changes and even one "hearing to correct a mere accounting error." Plus all of the depositions, arbitrations, mediations. I was out there.

Now that I am on the Faculty of Law of a "Worldwide University," their words, not mine, I am surrounded by academics, Thai academics; most are in category two above, some in category one, I may be the only one in category three. It makes me even more fascinating. Not only am I Farang, but I am also a real-world-experienced lawyer. This means that I have seen the dark side of the law, like I have had to tell a client, yes, we lost, and yes, you will lose your house, and yes, you still owe me the rest of the money.

I feel about lawyering about the same as I feel about growing up in New York City: I'm glad it all happened, but please god don't make me go back.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Thrills, Chills and No Spills

Ramkhamhaeng has twenty-one campuses, and I found out today that if one of the Ajans wants to drive to one, they don't waste any time doing it.

BKK to Lomsak, Petchabun (that's Jason S's old stomping grounds), five hours including a long lunch stop at a gai-yang place, a real OG moo-bahn gai-yang place, that's the chickens from the yard, the big ones with the tough, usually tough meat, this stuff was pretty good.

This guy drove like I drove my taxi in the 70's, like anybody drove a VW Beetle, either full throttle, to the floor, or brakes jammed up tight. The car was a pretty nice Volvo, natural gas no less, fast anyway, who knew? What passing technique this guy has! On the main road, with a couple of lanes to work with, we passed everybody, we passed other vehicles like a skier passes slalom gates, left and right. My favorite was the smaller, two lane blacktop roads, where he would flash his lights and pull out to pass even if there was a car passing someone in the opposite direction at the same time. Get outta Denver, baby. That's four abreast on a two lane road with small shoulders and a combined, "collision" speed of about 100 mph, as close as you can get to two solid objects occupying the same space at the same time. Hey, we're law professors, we don't know from no laws of physics.

After lunch all three passengers were sleeping and he really poured it on, singing and whistling along to a Karaoke video, you read that right, semi-naked women on a video screen in the console.

We made it, I knew we would. This guy does it all the time, there are no marks on his car. You have to learn to trust your fellow man.

Saturday, December 8, 2007


I'm so pleased with myself any time that I remember anything. This morning I was getting ready to leave my apartment and I remembered to take my meds. I smiled and thought, that was really great.

Then I even remembered that I should take a map with me, and then I even found the map I was looking for. I could lose my head if it weren't for my neck.

Life's little triumphs.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

How's the Weather?

Derek is right, but this was not the first time that I was honest to a fault. But note that I do get the face thing; I let them have a meeting where they decided to 'let me go;' and I did find them a replacement, I don't know how that went but I served her up on a silver platter. But yes, I should have told them I had to return to America because, well, you think of something.

So, on to Huamark, Bangkapi, my new neighborhood. My apartment is in between two universities, so there are students everywhere, many of whom are of course beautiful, so that's a good thing. It also creates a concentration of cheap, good eating opportunities that has to be seen to be believed, there must be a thousand. There are virtually no Farang; there are many Thai Muslims. But oh! the traffic.

I thought that I had been scared on motorcycles before, actually I'm sure that I have. Once, on a trafficless Monday in the Malibu mountains, I took a little fun ride on my 650. I knew the road was flat, and you could see what was coming on that section of the road, so I kind of let it out, let it really breathe, I was doing about ninety in third, engine at the red line, around this sweeping turn. I had my ass hanging half off the seat and the center stand was scraping on the pavement. I became aware that I was gradually moving towards the edge of the road, closer to the shoulder, which was gravel and only about seven feet wide, seven feet from the road to the cliff, precipice, whatever you want to call it, to a flying lesson is more like it. Yes, I was scared.

But riding to school, the short ride to school, is really scary. People, especially people on motorcycles, behave like they are infected with that virus from the movie, "28 Days Later." The virus that makes everyone frantically, insatiably homicidal. Yeah, like that, and some riders act like they are blindfolded besides. I hear it's much worse in the middle east but that is small consolation to me. I have no plans to go there.

School is, well, so far it looks like it can go one of two ways: either 1) the money will be good and I'll have tons and tons of free time; or 2) the money will be fantastic and I'll have plenty free time. That's some good options. My classes are very small, like two students, even Thai university students are afraid to listen to English being spoken in a classroom. But I'm lobbying the students, hey, I talk real slow, I like to really spell things out, no "hide the ball," I give easy tests and I'll tell you everything that'll be on the tests, nobody who shows up all the time will fail, come on, we'll have fun. It's all good; I'm very comfortable.

My apartment is on the twelth floor, I only hope that the original building permit wasn't for eight stories, that sh*t happens all the time here, they only find out when something collapses. It faces North-East too, that's always good when you are fifty feet from the sun.

Thanks for the comments.