This and that from Thailand. February 10, 2010

Another glorious morning in my suburban paradise. That is the problem with paradises it is always another after another. I am glad I am eventually going to hell, at least I will have something to be pissed off about.

To continue my morning trek to school, the first photograph shows the convenience store in the garage that I mentioned in a previous email. It is located about halfway along the long stretch of road in my most recent photographs. The second photo is the end of the long road where it veers to the right by the American fundamentalist christian middle and high school on the left. The large building on the left is one of the school buildings and behind the wall is some of the acres and acres of sport fields used by the school. They are almost always in use by the students for competitive team sports. I guess the theory is that this prepares the “young uns” for the competition to become the “select”. Either that or the scientifically proven vain hope that if they keep their hands on the ball or the bat or whatever, it will keep them out of their pants or skirts or each others. Cynical am I? Maybe that’s what happens in paradise. Oh, the phallus that you can just about see at the end of the road, I believe is the developers memorial to himself.

By the way, Cuzin Irwin suggested that if I ever were so desperate to start a blog in be named, “re Thai r ment”. He gets like that at times. I was asked by the same distant relation if there were anything exotic in my neighborhood seeing as it appears it is not that much different from Orange County. Actually there is. Every morning at 7AM a loudspeaker goes of with rendition of the Thai anthem. But I hear the same thing occurs in Orange County except it’s the Star Spangled Banner. Maybe that is where the Thais got the idea, like they got the idea of subdivisions.




From AnnMarie:

Just sent off my response to yesterdays email. Todays made me laugh. I like the blog title suggestion, cute. Hope you have a wonderful day in your little piece of paradise. It’s evening here, and I have a terrible cold so I’m off to bed. I hope to dream of my own paradise and another trip to Italy!

By the way, thank you for all the wonderful memories in Italy, I have pictures of you and the kids from that trip framed in my entryway. It was alot of fun traveling with you… dare I say you were a lot more fun than Jason! Lol. Wish you could have joined us at our Farmhouse in Tuscany last summer. All my pictures are posted at if you’re ever bored in paradise. I try to keep it updated, so check back ever so often to watch the kids growing up.

More from AnnMarie:

Many people love that face of yours! How do you think you were so popular with all the ladies?

Anthony is doing better, he seems to have shaped up this last month. For the first time he seems to realize things and he’s showing a real interest in finishing school. He’s getting motivated, so for that I’m happy. As for Athena, she is really growing up too fast for me, But I know she’ll do well. Aaron, well… he’s taking after Jason in some areas and me in others what can I say, but still I love him to death. Of all my children he’s the most affectionate and caring.

Have a wonderful day! I llok forward to more of your emails & pictures!

From Irwin:

joseph of thailand – maybe you are missing something by having those high walls and wooden gate. if you had a garage front facing the street you too could open up a convenience store like the one in your photo, but specialize in sexually oriented goods like bamboo condoms and kick the box-ing videos. i’m stuck for a name at the moment but i will come up with one. joe-bang-kok’s?

speaking of streets, it was a lovely day here in southern california. the temperature was in the lower 50’s, clear blue skies with nary a cloud in sight. actually i have been informed by watching the discovery channel that the sky is purple and not blue. i can’t remember how that determination is made (spectograph?) and it still looks blue to me but i am partally color-blind so maybe just maybe it’s purple. if this is ever widely known think of all the things which will have to chenge like songs (“blue skies is all i see”), expressions (“sky blue”) and of course all of those paintings which picture the heavens as we know them. anyway, when the wind, which was light, stopped, the sun warmed one’s cheeks. so i paused during my walk and sat on a bench at our private 21 acre park owned by us members of the green valley homeowners recreation association. i don’t remember what i thought about. i try not to think most days when i am outdoors. i’m usually not sucessful at the subterfuge but i like to indulge myself in thinking that i have control over my body and mind having the luxury of not pausing to fret about something if i want to just enjoy the scenery.

even tho the recent rains have pretty much cleaned up the streets, tomorrow is the second thursday of the month. here in green valley, on the second and fourth thursdays of each month (unlike having one’s maid sweep the sidewalk as on world cup) the street sweeper truck comes by and using non-potable water pretends to present a pretty picture. however there is nothing on the truck which actually picks up the dirt so i’m not sure what’s gained except perhaps for dragging some dirt from in front of my house to my neighbors or a contract for the mayor’s nephew. since our streets are public, this cleaning scam is carried off by the city of fountain valley for which my monthly trash and water bill provides a sustenance along with those other owners of property in this garden city. when the subdivision was built street signs noting the street cleaning schedule were permantly affixed to some poles along the major collector road. over the years these signs have disappeared (perhaps with the hope that one could refuse to pay the $30 ticket for leaving your car on the street on street sweeper day claiming lack of knowledge; however, over the years such feeble excuses as ignorance of the law go unoticed and the street sweeping police will come and get you if you don’t adhear to the regulations. there is nothing like waking up at 8:00 am in the morning and going outside to get the newspaper only to notice that there is a ticket placed under your windhshield wiper). as we now have two small cars they are both easily stored on my driveway – when there were four of us and four cars it use to be a nightmare. to compensate for the missing warning notices one of the local realtors posts his own signs on the second and fourth wednesday of each month. this posting is the subject matter of today’s photo. if the postage isn’t too much i could send you one to install in the front of your wall to terrify the neighbors.

i thought today that if nostalgia for your former home sets in you might occasionally appreciate some news from bagdad by the bay. here are two stories i copied from the mad asian man blog which i found today when i was searching the web:

“murder victim ran a basement brothel
Last month in San Francisco, 44-year-old Xiao “Ben” Xiong Luo, was shot to death last in an invasion-style attack at his home in the Sunset District. Authorities suspect he was running a brothel out of his basement: Police suspect Sunset slaying house was brothel.

According to police, Luo was shot once in the chest by one of two masked men who burst into his home on January 27. Eight other people who were inside the home with Luo were tied up but not harmed. The assailants fled, and no suspects have been arrested.

The police have released a tape of a 911 call placed during the shooting, as well as surveillance video footage and detailed descriptions of the assailants: Police describe suspects in Sunset slaying. Police ask that anyone with information call the department’s tip line at (415) 575-4444.”

“the low down dirty housing swindler
A San Francisco real estate agent hired to help low-income Asian American residents apply for city-sponsored affordable housing was recently charged with swindling them out of payments he allegedly claimed would guarantee them the coveted units: Housing agent accused of bilking the poor.

Kan Yin Chow is accused of stealing $1,000 to $4,000 apiece from 19 Chinese-speaking applicants who were trying to get into housing in the city. He was arrested last month arraigned on grand theft, burglary and credit fraud charges. More here: Man arrested in alleged affordable housing swindle.
angrylink | sha”

so you see you aren’t missing much. things are the same as when you were taking the cable car. incidentally speaking of cars, i have been wondering how you obtained a thai driver’s license given the sparseness of that country’s language in your vocabulary.

Joe’s response:

With reference to my Thai driver’s license, I do not have one. I have been told that I have up to six months to get one. I have also beed told that unless I am involved in an accident, a $5 bribe will be enough to get me off if I am ever stopped. I assume the cost is higher if one is in an accident.

Anyway, you do not have to speak and read Thai to get a driver’s license in Thailand. You do not have to take a test to see if you know and understand the Thai traffic laws (not even the Thais understand them if there are any and I doubt it). You do not take a driving test. All they do is administer a depth perception test and if you fail a little vigorish (would you believe this word is in spell check?) gets your license anyway.

PS: joe-bang-kok’s is not bad. I wonder how it will play with my fundamentalist christian neighbors?

From Bill Geyer:

Glad to hear from you. I’ve been enjoying your illustrated daily journal about everyday life across the sea. I hope your visa red tape has worked itself out. I guess red tape didn’t require globalization. It was always with us as part of the human condition, like original sin. Are you getting any writing done yet? Sometimes I find before I embark on any extended written project, that it helps to warm up by writing a few short things like letters or notes to the file (like before you come out of the bullpen); so maybe that’s what you’re doing.

Naida’s final book in her Cosumnes trilogy “Rest for the Wicked” came back from the printer last week (3,000 copies, first printing) so she’s shifting into the publishers marketing mode. Visualize the prototypical one-man band. I’ll send you a copy FYI if you’ll tell me where and how best to do it. My current role is warehouseman and after-the-fact editor. So far I’ve caught 5 errors (4 typos and one of substance) in 450 pages. Assuming I haven’t missed too many others, that’s better than average for our first print runs. I’m guessing we’ll have to order a second printing reasonably soon, so we can fix them then.

As I probably told you, I’ve been working on a big project to find new funding sources for the Williamson Act county subvention fund which used to come ($40M) from the state General Fund but got vetoed last year by the Governor. If the counties don’t get some offset money for their WA tax losses, they’ve individually and collectively threatened to terminate their WA programs. I’ve been making headway getting my work funded and have just completed a 14 page draft of a white paper on possible funding options.

From Joe to Nikki:

Natalie left for BKK this morning. I saw her off at the airport at 6 AM. She was still in her irritable mood.

Hayden woke up in his own bed this morning (he went to sleep in Natalie’s). He said to me, “Where is Mommy?”. I told him that she had already left. “Oh” he replied, “then get out of my room” and then he rolled over and went back to sleep. When he finally got up, he was in a very good mood. This is all a good sign.

The Principal told me that summer vacation begins on March 15th and continues until May 1 when the school closes until May 17th. I am not sure if the new semester begins on May 18th or not. I need to get that clarified. Anyway she told me that Natalie had indicated to her that she would take Hayden with her only during the two weeks that the school is closed. Thai is a good sign also.


Categories: January 2010 through March 2010 | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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