The House of Random Crap
A clearinghouse for my crazed, deviant, trivial, irreverant & occasionally reflective thoughts.


Wednesday, June 23, 2004  

Three years ago today, Nicha and I were officially engaged. Here are some excerpts from the PaulAndNicha.com site describing key events surrounding that day:

June 27, 2000 - After maintaining a 10-month long distance relationship, Paul leaves his high-tech Silicon Valley job, cashes out his fortune in options (about $50 after trading commissions), and moves to Asia to be with his True Love (that's you Nicha, in case you were wondering). Before starting his new job in Hong Kong, Paul takes a 2 week vacation in Bangkok, and the first thing in the morning after his arrival (that being the 27th), Nicha visits Paul at his hotel. His first words to her as a permanent resident in Asia: "Will you marry me?" Her response: a loving kiss. To this day, Paul doesn't know if that was supposed to mean "yes", but since he is putting down a lot of money for the dowry and wedding reception and she is trying on wedding gowns, he's going to take a wild guess and assume that Nicha will indeed marry him.

June 16, 2001 - In what would normally be considered the seminal event and official moment of engagement, Paul's father calls Nicha's father to ask for Nicha's hand in marriage on his son's behalf. In Thai culture, it would normally be the fathers who negotiate the marriage and details. Nicha's father says that if Paul and Nicha love each other, he has no problems with them getting married. Afterwards, Paul calls home to ask his dad about the conversation. His dad won't come to the phone because something really important has come up: the Los Angeles Lakers are playing the championship-winning game against the Philadelphia 76ers (108-96, whoo-hoo!).

June 23, 2001 - After a courtship of about 25 months and almost a year after Paul arrives in Asia (and asks Nicha to marry him), Paul and Nicha get OFFICIALLY engaged. Just after breakfast, Paul sits down with Nicha's parents and declares his love for Nicha, and his desire to marry her. He then presents (we're not kidding here) a 4-year undiscounted cash flow projection of Paul's net worth. Nicha's parents proceed to put Paul through the worst stress interview of his life, asking him his thoughts on how to maintain a happy marriage, how to resolve marital tension, where they plan to buy a home, how often they will visit and so on and so on. Please keep in mind that this conversation is taking place almost entirely in Thai, and while Nicha does translate from time to time, she is too choked up with tears and happiness to really be of any use. So Paul, with a Thai vocabulary of a 4-year old, is attempting to ask for her hand in marriage. An hour later, her parents consent, and they are engaged. Paul is so nervous, he almost throws up. Nicha's brother's reaction to news of the engagement: (without turning away from the television), "It's about time."

June 24, 2001 - Paul presents Nicha's parents with the engagement ring. A 1.5-carat diamond flanked by 3 smaller stones on each side, the engagement ring is the very same that Paul's father gave his mother when they got engaged. Nicha loves the ring because it is so beautiful and has much historical significance; Paul loves the ring because it was free...

posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul | 10:51 PM |


Tuesday, June 22, 2004  

From Sam Halpert's site:

You are a South African bush pilot. You fly in some critical medical supplies, enjoy a quick lunch at the hospital. It's a stifling 100 degrees in the shade and you're eager to get back up to the cool, high blue yonder.

On the way back to your plane, you discover that the only bit of shade, within 1 mile, has become very popular. . . .

You start calculating the distance to the plane door and wonder . . . "Do I feel lucky today?"

posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul | 8:48 PM |
 

Everyone get their Gmail account yet? Apparently, these guys have been distributing beta invites out like little cocktail weenies. I already handed out about a half dozen, and still have a few to go yet but for the fact that most of the people I know who'd want an account already have one. The ability to not only store 1 Gb of crap, but also send out massive attachments (I've sent out e-mails as large as 7 to 8 Mb) is actually very handy. I'll play around with it for a few more months before I decide to migrate most of my personal e-mail traffic over.

The competitive response to Gmail is nothing short of comic. To match Gmail's capability, Yahoo has upgraded its e-mail to offer 100 MB, a whopping one-tenth of Google's offering. And Hotmail? Well reputedly, Microsoft's servers are blocking the IP addresses of Gmail invites, so invitees never see hide nor hair of their invitation. I can't confirm this last one, but the invite I sent to Nicha's Hotmail account bounced back, irrecoverable.

Anyone want an account? I have a few invites left.

posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul | 11:25 AM |
 

I'm a bit conflicted: while I'm appalled by this consumerism-gone-too-far incident, Nicha and I happen to really enjoy eating at MK Restaurants...

Ads in Buddhist temple cause uproar
Tuesday, June 22, 2004. 0:20am (AEST)

A Thai Buddhist monk agreed to strip corporate sponsorship logos from his famous Bangkok temple today after the brash advertisements caused an uproar in the deeply religious kingdom.

Thai television showed images of monks holding large ceremonial fans bearing advertisements for the "MK" restaurant chain and the BTS mass transit system, as well as prominent sponsorship signs above rows of golden Buddha statues.

The head monk of Samiennaree temple, Prakru Uthaithamarat, said the advertisements were merely a sign of gratitude after 1 million baht of corporate money was pumped into a new pavilion for the temple, but agreed to bow to popular opinion and remove them.

"It does not violate any Buddhist rules but if Buddhists say it is inappropriate, I will change it," he said.

The use of logos on monk's ceremonial fans, which usually carry reflective passages on the nature of death during traditional Thai funerals, drew particularly harsh criticism.

A furious Thai woman who attended a funeral at the temple told the Thai Post newspaper that whenever she looked up for words of comfort she instead saw a sign enticing her to eat at "MK".

posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul | 11:20 AM |
 

Given the amount of time I spend gallivanting about the Internet, it's not surprising that occasionally, I'll stumble across a truly interesting site. The latest site to take a toll on my productivity: Mango Sauce, apparently an online watering hole for a number of expats residing in the Thai motherland. I've generally shied away from foreigner-in-Thailand portal sites, but the author of this site is rather articulate, with the sort of smarmy, smirking, cat-that-swallowed-the-canary sense of humor that I appreciate. That the site targets and attracts farang fellows shacking up with the local bar girls does, at some level, ruffle my Thai sensibilities (much like how Thais are "supposed" to be offended by Rodger & Hammerstein's The King and I, nevermind the fact that I actually liked Yul Brenner and Deborah Kerr's performances). However, I do find the site to be a fascinating window into an intriguing and oftentimes amusing subculture, especially since many of the visitors leaving comments on the site are either caricatures of your typical sexist, knuckle-dragging johns in the Asian T&A candyland, or reasonably good online imitators of them.

I came across the site as a result of an online verbal battle of the sexes between Masie and an expat fellow who is apparently a regular visitor of the Mango Sauce site. In the course of their blow-by-blow, the fellow unleashed a particularly unkind invective towards Masie, which included comments on her blog site which “scans like an 18 year old backpackers journal”, complete with “political views [which] are predictably of the left wing/all you need is love type nonsense” and a “look at all the places I have visited coloured in [schoolgirl] map.” Amusingly enough, this guy has mistaken my site for hers, even going so far as to attribute to her my April rant on our beloved PM’s misadventures as Thailand’s CEO and poke fun of the little world map that I posted on my blog as a random, happened-to-be-bored-out-of-my-mind curiosity (see May 25th entry). Hilarious! That this guy managed to confuse my mindless drivel and online curios as coming from a female British journalist is one thing, but to juxtapose a squat, mid-30s, beer-guzzling, rugby-playing investment banker with an 18-year old school-girly backpacker type cracks me up. I think I’ll stay tuned; amusing times ahead.



Before I crash for the night (morning, really), I wanted to plagiarize an entry (complete with cheesy go-go bar photo) from the Mango Sauce which I found utterly hilarious, if not pinpoint spot-on.

Fluent Thai in just 30 seconds

Impress the locals without even opening a boring phrase book. Today we learn how to speak fluent Thai in just 30 seconds.

Air: Air con
Apart-men: Apartment
Arap: Arab
Ayt-cream: Ice cream
Bar: Bar
Beer: Beer
Boom boom: boom boom
Cee-dee: CD
Coh-cain: Cocaine
Com-piu-ter: Computer
Condo: Condo
Condom: Condom
Da-wid Bek-hairm: David Beckham
Dow: Down (cash deposit)
Dee-wee-dee: DVD
E-mai: Email
Fut-born: Football
Furni-ture: Furniture
Gan-jah: Ganja
Gay: Gay
Gin Tonic: Gin & Tonic
Gof: Golf
Green Tea: Green Tea
Hello: Hello (when answering phone)
Internet: Internet
Lesbian show: Lesbian show
Lif: Lift (elevator)
Lip-satik: Lipstick
Logo: Logo
Manches-ter U-nai-tet: Manchester United
Mar-ga-rin: Margarine
Wave: Microwave
Moto-cyc: Motorcycle
Offit: Office
Oi: Oil
Panda: Panda
Pep-see: Pepsi
Per-sen: Percent
Pik-ap: Pick-up (truck)
Plastic: Plastic
Promo-shern: Promotion (special offer)
Sa-deet: Sadist
Ser-ee-ert: Serious
Sexy: Sexy
Taxi: Taxi
Tek-noh-loh-yee: Technology
Tennit: Tennis
Tee-wee: TV
Wee-dee-oh: Video
Wai: Wine

This easy-to-remember Thai vocabulary is more than enough to get you both drunk and laid (catering to a variety of perversions at the promotional rate), while watching your favourite sports channel in air-conditioned comfort with an ice-cream in one hand and a spliff in the other – plus a taxi home.

What more could anyone need?

posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul | 4:18 AM |


Monday, June 21, 2004  

I feel young again!

Last night, Nicha and I and 8 of our friends went to see Linkin Park perform. 2 words: Kicked. Ass.

I had resigned myself to the fact that the combination of there being few bands around today that I like and that Bangkok only attracts about a dozen major musical acts a year meant that Rush's Counterparts concert I attended back in March 1994 would have likely meant my last real rock concert (I'm conveniently forgetting the Chicago reunion tour that Nicha and I caught in Vegas last September; decent concert, but nothing spectacular). I'm a huge LP fan, so you can only imagine my utter joy when I saw the billboard announcing that they would be performing in Bangkok. Nicha and I were in the car, and I simply pointed my finger at the billboaard excitedly and grunted out an insistent "Ooooo! OOOooooo!!!" Nicha said I was like an infant who couldn't yet speak, but saw something important and wanted to get someone's attention.

It was an outdoor concert, and given the recent rash of downpours, we were fortunate that it didn't rain. We had tickets in front of the stage, right of center, which turned out to be the best view in the house. Tickets were phenomenally expensive at Baht 2500 ($62) a piece before a Baht 375 promotional discount. But even after the discount, a $50+ ticket seems pricy, even by US standards. Then again, it's been 10-12 years since I went concerts on a regular basis, so maybe I'm like the grandfather that talks about the Great Depression and how a loaf of bread and gallon of gas in his day were only 25 cents a piece. Well, for Bangkok, $50 is expensive.

Worth every penny though. The place was packed (Mike Shinoda, the band's rapper, commented that Bangkok was the largest show they've ever headlined), full of fans that knew all the songs and lyrics. Not too many moshers, but the crowd was pretty head-bangingly enthusiastic. The energy was infectious, and Nicha (not traditionally a nu metal fan) was rocking away, jumping up and down, and shouting out what song lyrics she knew. Her highlight moment was getting hoisted onto my shoulders, where she was swaying, hollering, and having what must have been a fantastic view of the stage. The band played all their most well known songs, but my personal highlight was having Shinoda playing a gentle piano solo, which opened up into "Breaking the Habit", one of my favorites of their recent album, and a song I wasn't sure they would play. One of the friends we went with was my college buddy Sam, making this something like the 4th or 5th concert we've been to together. Sam, if you're reading this, confirm for me: Rush's Presto tour, Alice in Chains/Van Halen, Def Leppard (?), Day on the Green (Soundgarden/Faith No More/Queensryche/Metallica), and LP.

I forgot what kind of euphoric buzz permeates about a concert crowd. My throat is ripped raw, my ears are still ringing, and my legs are sore. I definitely feel young again!

Some concert pics:

Waiting for things to start (that's me and Nicha in the background, and Sam, Maew, Jack, and Pla moving towards the foreground)


Me and the wifey. I'd like to say that I was sunburned, but I'll come clean and admit I guzzled a beer before the show


Having an awesome time! Pla, Gain, Nicha, and Jack (and half my head)


Close enough to stage to see the band, but far enough not to get smothered in the crowd


The kid's are alright. Back: Chuck, Jack, Pla, Sam, George. Front: Me, Nicha, Maew, Waew. Behind the camera: Gain

posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul | 11:05 AM |


Thursday, June 10, 2004  

Do you ever have "theme" days? These are what I call days in which various random elements that you encounter throughout the day coincidentally revolve around a singular, equally random and trivial theme.

Yesterday, I had a "Last Starfighter" kind of day. Anyone remember this low-budget cult status 80's sci-fi flick? About the small town guy who's a whiz at a Last Starfighter coin-op game, and gets recruited to become the defender of the galaxy? Cheesy, but I have fond enough memories that I had to have it in my DVD collection.

Anyways, yesterday I was cruising through the cable channels and came across the astoundly bad "Jaws 4: The Revenge", starring Lance Guest. Once I saw him on screen, I had a fleeting thought: Oh! That's the guy from The Last Starfighter. A split second, no big whoop.

A few hours later, I was in a taxi, and the cabbie had some Thai talk show on the radio. As it broke into a commercial break, it played some hauntingly familiar theme music. I'm the type that goes nuts if I can place a familiar song, so I absolutely had to figure out where that song was from. Well, after a few moments of intense mental strain, it hit me: Holy crap with a cherry on top! That's the theme music from The Last Starfighter!!!

Some funky stars must have been in alignment yesterday...

posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul | 3:12 PM |
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