Sunday, March 18, 2007

Karate Chop Sunday

Hey everybody. No karate chop sunday last week because PBS was doing the pledge drive thing and there was no episode of McLaughlin group to screen cap. I guess I could've used an old screen capture but that would've been dishonest.

So sundays could also be called "American Food and Rant Sundays" because I like to go to the nearby farang-friendly cafe and order a burger and fries, and then complain about stuff on my blog.

I asked for "No mayonnaise" on it but it of course still had gobs of mayo on the thing ("farangs like mayo!"), but I just scraped it off and ate the burger. You can't get upset about things like that because if I really wanted to clearly ask for no mayonnaise on my burger maybe I should learn to speak Thai.

I was stopped by one of the military guys yesterday (they are everywhere around here, keepin' the peace I guess) walking back from 7-11 (also everywhere) and he started talking to me really fast in thai. I could tell he was an officer because he had yellow ropes and rank insignia I couldn't identify, and only a sidearm on him instead of the M-16 or AR-15 looking thing. I kind of shook my head and went "I don't speak Thai" and figured that, since I was only a half a block from a big international hotel he'd just let me pass (I thought it was wierd he was stopping me in the first place). But to my suprise, he switched to english and said "Where you going?!" very forcefully (and with mean-face). I said "To my room," and pointed the direction to my apartment, which also happened to be the same direction as the hotel. My paranoia(tm) had already kicked in and there was no way I was going to tell this guy where I was living for another month, but I didn't want to directly lie at the same time. He said "Where you from?" and I quickly said "America" without even thinking. The emails from the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok I get every once and while, telling me the pollution levels are above emergency levels (no shit?) or that I should watch my wallet when in the inner city (O RLY?) also told me that I should refrain from telling locals my country of origin is the USA, due to anti-US sentiment in southern Thailand (I am in northern Thailand, however). Still, I didn't even consider saying I was from Canada or wherever, because goddamnit I'm not going to lie about Eagle Tribe USA! This turned out to be to my benefit though as he quickly smiled and said "USA!" and gave me a hearty thumbs-up. I heartily thumbs-upped him back and he moved out of my path and waved me by.

Someone important must've been coming to that area. Probably a royal family member. When I was in Bangkok the princess was coming to the royal palace and they kicked everyone out of the nearby Grand Temple early so they could cordon off like four square blocks. They take royal protection seriously around here, and its the only reason I can think of where they would stop a touristy-looking farang and question him. Also I'm really proud of the fact that the word "America" settles any fears he may have had about any malfeasance I may be involved in. Because we may be a lot of things in the US, but one thing we are not is terrorists.

Did I mention pollution yet this week? Well, it got WAY above emergency levels this last week. According to the Thai version of the EPA, 120 ug/m^3 is the standard maximum acceptable level of particulate matter. It got over 300 ug/m^3 this week, making every workout feel like I was breathing car exhaust when I was done. I even got an email from the US embassy telling me to buy one of those masks and try not to breathe or exercise too much. Of course, I got this email Thursday, two days AFTER it was above 300 ug/m^3 (i didn't get one after it got above the standard, or 2x above the standard, not until two days after it was 3x above the standard).

Thanks a load for the update, embassy, maybe tomorrow I'll get an email detailing how its a bad idea to leave your clothes on the bench when you take a shower after gym class in high school because Kyle Huston will steal them and hide them somewhere. And here I wondered why I was completely winded by the time I got to the gym, which is only 4 blocks away. Also all this particulate matter results in there always being a layer of crud particles over everything. I notice because my laser mouse goes nuts when I try to use it after leaving it sit for an hour because I'm rolling it over sand and the laser gets reflected everywhere.

That picture had nothing to do with anything in this post other than to say Contra rules.

One awesome thing yesterday is that I figured out how to use my GPS here. I gave up too easily when I first tried to use it because it wasn't seeing a single satellite, so I figured I didn't have the right 'codes' for Thai satellites. This was until Brando explained to me that the ONLY gps in the sky is the US Military gps (which they let civilians use all over the world), so theres no good explanation why I couldn't get any satellites. So I restarted my gps and once I figured out how to reset it it works great. Turns out when you turn off the gps on one side of the planet and turn it back on on the OTHER side of the planet, it gets confused. This is a good example of failing because of lack of trying. I already assumed I couldn't do it, so I didn't even try. Once Brando explained to me how the gps system was set up I knew it was a problem I could solve. It went from a "unknown known" to one of those "known unknowns," and therefore solvable. So now I have a goal for this week:

Geocache! Wahooo! The one up on the temple mount has gotten robbed again according to the geocache site, so this is my best bet. It requires me to get across the city somehow, but I'll do it this week. The next closest geocache is like 32 miles away in some tiny hilltribe town, so I may not be able to get to that one on foot.

Finally, here's an interview detailing what T-Money and Bruce Campbell have been up to since Xena went off the air: