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

Sunday, April 24, 2005  

Notwithstanding Texas Tech's rout of the Bears during the Holiday Bowl, Cal had an absolutely stellar football season last year, achieving a #4 national ranking. Much of the program's success is due to star quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who was a 1st round pick in the currently on-going NFL draft. He was the #24 pick, Green Bay's first of the draft. He is also the second quarterback selected during the draft, after Utah's Alex Smith became the #1 draft pick (and going to me beloved 49ers).

Cal's other star player, running back JJ Arrington, was selected 12th in the 2nd round by the Cardinals. 5 more Cal players in the draft...good luck, guys. Go Bears!

posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul | 11:43 AM |

Saturday, April 23, 2005  

I just managed to finish watching the entire run of Cartoon Network's Clone Wars animated series. I have to say that I'm pretty impressed. The series is comprised of 25 short episodes bridging the stories of the Attack of the Clones and the Revenge of the Sith. The story lines are crisp, the animation visually appealing, the action extremely exciting, and the acting far superior to the deadpan that has so far characterized Lucas' prequels. Definitely worth checking out.

posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul | 5:50 PM |

Monday, April 18, 2005  

Chas & Cammy

(Pilfered from HKMacs)

posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul | 12:54 PM |

Saturday, April 16, 2005  

Though Southeast Asia in general and Thailand in particular has a rich diversity of art both ancient and modern, much has failed to make a deep impression on me. Part of this is due to my familiarity and artistic grounding in more European styles of art, from the Rennaissance to the Post-Impressionists. Part of this is also due to the Buddhist themes that permeate much of Southeast Asian art. And though I've been a lifelong Buddhist, I've never really been all that appreciative of blendings between the religion and art forms. Until now.

If you are interested in Buddhism, art, or both, and have never heard of the name Puritat Dangharm, then make the effort to learn about this extremely talented Thai artist. My wife and I first stumbled across his work last year when we came across one of his galleries as we wandered about Chatuchak Weekend Market. His use of Buddhist imagery and technique of using split panels were both achingly beautiful and spiritually moving. We spent an hour in the small, cramped gallery gazingly longingly and wistfully at the gorgeous pieces adorning the walls. We resolved that once our new house was completed, more than a few of Khun Puritat's pieces would become key centerpieces of our home and sanctuary.

Last night, the wife and I spent day 2 of the Songkran (Thai New Year) holiday lounging at the Suan Lum Night Bazaar, grabbing dinner at the beer garden and wandering about the many merchant stalls looking for knick knacks with which to decorate our recently completed home. Much to our surprise and delight, we discoverd that Khun Puritat had opened another gallery at Suan Lum (aptly named the Puritat Art Gallery). Looking at his current pieces, we wound up falling in love with his work all over again.

This piece was the one that captured my wife's attention and heart.

She was captivated by the use of the red paint and the gold leaf, creating both a striking yet soothing effect. The tree represents the one that the Lord Buddha had been meditating under when he attained enlightenment.

She knew immediately that she had to have this piece, which would either go in our bedroom or foyer (we eventually opted for the latter)

And this piece I knew I had to have.

We love the artist's use of gold leaf. I was mesmerized with his ability to blend three different religiously-oriented patterns painted on three different canvases into one seamlessly integrated pattern. I find his circular pattern simultaneously simple, powerful, and hypnotic.

We were not the only ones enamoured of this piece. After we asked the artist to wrap it up for us and sought out an ATM to withdraw cash, we returned to find another couple who attempted to make an offer on the very same piece.

By the end of the evening, we dropped a cool grand (Baht 40,000) on the two pieces; certainly not chump-change by any means, but definitely not an outlandish sum for such masterful work. I've never been much of either a prodigious collector or a discriminating connoisseur of the arts, but I know what I like when I see it, and if I don't have to break the bank to acquire something truly beautiful, then why not indulge a bit?

If you find yourself in Suan Lum Night Bazaar, please pay this gifted gentleman a visit, even if it just to get a look at some of his truly inspired work.

Puritat Dangharm - Puritat Art Gallery
Suan Lum Night Bazaar
Zone D, Lopburi Soi 8, D248 & D253
Phone: 02/251-5428
Mobile: 09/672-2727

posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul | 12:04 AM |

Friday, April 15, 2005  


If reading 2 very funny blogs isn't enough to crack a smile out of you, how about a third?

If you either follow current events in Los Angeles or have even the slightest interest in the upcoming release of "Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith", then you probably have heard about about the group of fans who last week started to lined up outside Grauman's Chinese Theater in anticipation of the premiere on May 19 (for the mathematically disadvantaged, that's still over a frickin' month away). The catch: the goobers have lined up at the wrong theater. Apparently, the studio has opted to premiere the movie at the ArcLight Theater a few blocks away. In complete outrage, the NerdQueue has decided to protest by not switching lines. Masterful strategy, guys.

To make the story even more interesting, there seems to be an all-out NerdWar brewing between our intrepid liner-uppers and the writers at the Los Angeles Metroblog, apparently prompted by several mocking posts by said Metrobloggers, including one by contributor Wil Wheaton (of Star Trek TNG fame), who suggested that the NerdQueue "get a life" (reminiscent of the Saturday Night Live sketch where William Shatner gives similar advice to attendees of a Star Trek convention).

Adding fuel to the fire is nerd hottie Jessica Stover, who (much like a modern day urban anthropologist) visited the NerdQueue to ply them with pizzas as she studied their curious ways. Her April 14th blog and photo gallery about the entire incident is way too lengthy for me to reproduce here, but it would be a crime against humanity if you didn't pop on by and enjoy a good laugh. Trust me on this; she's damn funny.

posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul | 6:55 PM |

Just mere minutes after I posted about Michael Schiavo's blog, I came across a completely unrelated but equally hilarious post worth sharing. Several of my high school friends (including my brother Pete's best man Elliot and my high school prom date Yoko) did an extended stint as English language teachers in Japan via the JET program. I came across this fellow's website about his experiences as a JET teacher, and found this entry about his kids' penis fetish to be especially amusing. I couldn't help but wonder what sort of experiences my friends had during their tenures.

My Kids Are Perverted

Ok, so I'm an assisstant teacher in three Japanese middle schools. The grade levels are ichinensei, ninensei, and sannensei. Translated this just means "1st years", "2nd years", and "3rd years", and it's equivalent to American 7-9th grades. So the kids are about 12-15 years old.

For the ichinensei, they JUST started learning English. So this means they know nothing. Well, they know "Good Morning" and "I go to school by bike", but that's about it. Some of them don't even know that. It's not a bad thing, try to think about how much Spanish/French/German you knew after 3 years of it in High School. I took HS Spanish for 3 years and all I took out of it was "Yo quiero taco bell". My apologies to Mrs. Gonzalez, Ms. Kuchinski, and Mrs. Mach.

You know what's kind of funny though? Some kids can't say "Good morning", but damn near all of them can ask if I have a big dick. Or, "bigu dikku" in Engrish.

Y'see, Japan's an island no bigger than California, where everything is filtered. There are so few foreigners here, their only impressions of things outside of Japan comes from the media. And to be honest, they don't really give a damn about anything other than America. So yeah, try to imagine a country where the perceptions of you are created by your movies, music, and MTV. And when you stop crying and shaking at the sheer horror of that thought, I'll be here waiting.

....Okay? Ok. So anyway, the whole "black men have big dicks" stereotype stretches far and wide, even to the nation's 12 year olds. Part of why I'm here is not just to kind of sort of help teach English, but to "broaden cultural perceptions". Break stereotypes, challenge preconcieved notions, all that jazz. That's good and all, but this is one stereotype I think I'm just gonna let slide.

So anyway, I get asked "bigu dikku" A LOT. Every 2-3 days in fact, which is amazing considering I got asked this question about 2-3 times *in my entire life* in America. Locker room jokes aside. How do you answer that anyway? To a 12-15 year old? I wave them off and say "No no no." Then they say "Oh, sumaru dikku?" (trans. "Small dick?") and OF COURSE that's wrong so I have to correct them. It's just a no-win stiuation.

On the days I'm avoiding them asking me that, I'm avoiding them actually trying to grab it. I shit you not, I have to play Dodgedick with Japanese Jr. High kids on a weekly basis. Boys and girls! Age, gender, doesn't matter, they all want a stab at it. The boys are actually more persistant though. I had one boy grab for it, and when I said "No!" he put his hands together and, in English, said "Please!" Oh hell no. I was sitting next to a 12-year old boy who kept grabbing at it, and when I told him "No!" he asked "Why not?" I wondered if there weren't some cultural bounds I wasn't understsanding, so I said clearly "age 10 years and become female since birth, then we'll talk." His solution was to ask the girl sitting next to him to trade seats, grab my dick, and tell him about it.

That is so NOT what I meant.

I wish I could say it stops there, but actually, it gets worse. Let me introduce you to a game Japanese kids like to play called "Kancho."

Actually, it's not so much a "game" as it is kids clasping their hands together, sticking out their first fingers, and shoving them up your butt. I'm really not joking.

You know, before we come to Japan, they tell us a lot of ultimately useless stuff. What kind of computer to bring, if our DVD's will work, clothing sizes, that kind of nonsense. Nowhere, and I mean nowhere, in the 3-4 months of orientations did anyone ever mention that at some point, a Japanese kid may try to stick their fingers up our butt. That's something I would have liked to know, personally.

It's called Kancho, and just about any kid can be a Kancho Assassin. Even the sweetest little girl may be prone to jam her fingers up your ass the second you turn around. This happened to one of my friends, which just goes to show - don't trust anyone. I'd say the little girls are the most dangerous cause they have natural ways of lowering your defenses.

I was pretty lucky. Before I came, I bought a really big, really baggy pair of pants. The kids try to Kancho...but they just have no idea where my ass is! It's beautiful! I had one kid try and find his fingers hit nothing but jean fabric and air. Yes! But I've actually gotten pretty good at dodging it, much like Spider-man I have developed a Kancho Sense that tells me where and when it's coming before it comes. I parry fingers like a pro. My record is still 100% Kancho Free. Ha! America 2, Japan 0.

All in a day's work I suppose.

posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul | 6:33 PM |

I've refrained from blogging about the whole Terri Schiavo, right-to-die brouhaha for one simple reason: I don't give a shit. Like Elian Gonzales or Martha Stewart or Ashley & Mary Kate, Terri Schiavo has occupied a media stature completely disproportional and overly exaggerated relative to her actual impact on world events. After all, people die horrendous, tragic deaths every day, deaths that Congress could easily prevent if they were so inclined. And frankly, I'm sure I am joined by most of the civilized world as we scratch our heads over why Congress and the American media are so single-mindedly obsessed over what most consider to be a private and personal family affair.

So why bring up the subject now? Because as I was riffling through the links on TotalFark, I came across Michael Schiavo's blog. Not THE Michael Schiavo, but rather A Michael Schiavo. That some random guy with an unfortunate moniker is sufficiently tragicomic enough for me to take a look; that this fellow's witty plea calling for the Internet public to stop inundating him with hate mail is worth sharing a laugh over. Enjoy.

I Am Not Michael Schiavo (Part, the Last . . . Hopefully)
This has gone on long enough. For the last time: I am not Michael Schiavo.

I know this is difficult for some folks to understand, but not everyone named Michael Schiavo is Michael Schiavo. The gentleman in Florida who was involved in a legal battle to take his vegetative wife off life support? Not me. The twenty-something writer who has a blog that he uses to keep his friends and acquaintances up to date with his publishing accomplishments? That’s me.

There are some fundamental differences between Michael Schiavo and Michael Schiavo. For example, Michael Schiavo has a moustache. Michael Schiavo does not. In fact, Michael Schiavo would not look good with a moustache. Some people, like Michael Schiavo, can pull off a moustache. Not Michael Schiavo; he looks pretty skuzzy with one.

Another difference is that Michael Schiavo lives in Florida. Michael Schiavo, on the other hand, was born in Concord, Massachusetts and has lived most of his life in Connecticut.

Perhaps the most obvious difference between Michael Schiavo and Michael Schiavo is that Michael Schiavo’s wife Terri was so severely brain-damaged, she wasn’t able to speak or even feed herself for 15 years. In contrast, Michael Schiavo doesn’t have a wife. He doesn’t even have a girlfriend. Not that he’s not interested, he just wants to find the right woman.

I could go on, but you get the point: I am not Michael Schiavo. I am Michael Schiavo.

So if you want to e-mail me to say you like my writing, or are interesting in publishing me, please do so. Or if you knew me (Michael Schiavo) in high school or college and we’ve lost touch, drop me a line. However, don’t contact me to tell me that I’m a “cruel, evil murderer” or that you hope “the pig dies a slower more horrible death than the one he has committed Terri to and i hope he takes all the liberal killing judges with him, scum of the earth all of them.” Save that for Michael Schiavo.

And for the record, it’s Skyah-voe, not Shy-voe. Maybe that will help the bewildered amongst you differentiate between Michael Schiavo and Michael Schiavo.

This Michael Schiavo hopes to be around a lot longer than that Michael Schiavo. And through the haze of all the hate mail, I try to look on the bright side:

At least my last name’s not Jackson.

posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul | 5:57 PM |

Monday, April 11, 2005  

Wanna lick? Psyche!!

Nicha was really happy when she got a promotion and massive raise a few weeks ago, and pretty damn happy the day we got married almost three and a half years ago. But neither night really compares to the sheer bliss she experienced tonight. Tonight, we bought 8 one-pint tubs of Ben & Jerry's ice cream.

Just like I crave chicken fried steak, mexican food, and In 'N Out burgers, the things that Nicha really misses from the U.S. include Krispy Kreme donuts, Cheetohs, and of course, Ben & Jerry's ice cream. So when she heard rumors a few weeks ago that Tops Supermarket received a special consignment of Ben & Jerry's, all she could think about was finding it, buying it, eating it.

Last Friday, I managed to located where Tops had been keeping the Ben & Jerry's, and almost suffered conniptions from the sticker shock: Baht 300 (US$7.50) per bloody, frickin' pint! If I'm gonna pay that much for ice cream, I want it to cure cancer and give me a 4-hour erection! Luckily, Tops has a 2-for-1 promotion going on at the moment, so Baht 150 (US$3.75) is in a reasonable range (barely!) for a brand of premium imported ice cream, at least if its a brand that Nicha tends to obsess over for weeks.

This morning, I got an e-mail from her to the effect that many of the girls on her trading desk had also heard about this special consignment and promotion, and spent the entire morning planning to head over to Tops later in the day to begin hoarding ice cream. Of course, the only thing in the universe that could ever get Nicha to fight the evening rush hour traffic and pick me up from work mid-week is the prospect of not getting her fair share of her beloved Ben & Jerry's. So into our basket went 8 pints: Cherry Garcia, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Chunky Monkey, Half Baked, and 2 each of the Chocolate Fudge Brownie and New York Super Fudge Chunk. She started getting so impatient at how long it took the cashier to process the transaction of the person in line in front of us that she practically screamed at the cashier for the insulating ice cream pouches so she could start bagging her merchandise before it started to melt. It was a super-human effort on my part to keep from laughing hysterically.

It was all Nicha could do to contain her excitement. Lead foot on the gas pedal, giggling like a teenybopper schoolgirl, all she did on the ride home was struggle with a horrible, gut-wrenching choice: which flavor would she have tonight? An inhumanly quick ride home and three bowls later (Cherry Garcia, Chunky Monkey, and Chocolate Fudge Brownie), Nicha is one very happy, comatose, dairy-saturated camper. Now if Krispy Kreme ever makes it out here, I know she's gonna have the mother of all orgasms...

posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul | 10:16 PM |

Friday, April 01, 2005  

A United Nations kind of day

Phone call with a British-born Indian banker based in Singapore during the morning, Vietnamese food for lunch, conference call to Swedish woman to talk about a South African company in the afternoon, followed by a call from a French acquaintance to discuss a possible deal in the Philippines, capped by an Italian dinner with a bunch of Indonesians.

Just another hum drum Friday...

posted by someone bearing a striking resemblance to Paul | 11:14 PM |
thai mafioso
nomads in siam
the rest of the riff raff
the truly damned of rbj
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