My First attempt at a Video Blog…

Happy Tuesday to one and all wherever in the world this finds you, whether it be morning, noon, or night. I thought i’d take a stab at doing a video blog just as a little creative experiment. I realized after I got it recorded that i look terrible, and I’m always reminded just how very “gay” I really am when i see myself on video. However, I’m going to go out on a limb and show you guys anyways just to see if anyone is interested. So without any further ramblings please go ahead and have a watch if you feel so inclined. Much much thanks for stopping by as always,and talk to you again soon!

Haute Couture Huh??

Happy Saturday to all my readers where ever you may be and where ever this finds you. I think no matter how old I get or where I work I will always look forward to the weekends. I have noticed that my co-workers and I measure the work week by ‘sleeps’ leading up to the weekend. Are we the only ones in the world that do this? I highly doubt it, but anyways it is Saturday here and I’m feeling quite content sitting here in my laziness feeling like a sloth.

Anyways, I saw something yesterday at the gym that I wanted to talk to you guys about today. I was on the stair machine sweating one out, watching the rows of flat screen televisions mounted in front of the cardio equipment. Keep in mind that I’m just that gay, so naturally my eyes migrated to the one tuned to the ‘fashion’ television station where various emaciated teenage girls was stomping down various runways. Now, the things I am about to express are probably going to get me in trouble with the pink mafia.  However, I can’t help but call it like i see it sometimes because I noticed more often than not, the clothes being paraded were nothing short of hideous.  One girl in particular I noted was wearing a dress made entirely of bright red overlapping curtain ruffles and had half the skeleton of a basket perched atop her head. I wondered who would spend thousands on a dress like this and then actually be seen in public? Who buys dresses like this and where do they wear them? I just don’t understand why anyone would want to parade around wearing something cut from a brothel’s curtains or look like the play clothes in the Sound of Music. How many people really know what Haute Couture means? It is a french word that literally means high sewing or high dressmaking. In the fashion world it refers to the making of exclusive custom fitted fashions for the elite of the world.   However, doesn’t this remind you of the childhood story called “the Emperor’s New Clothes“?

Now, before I go on let me confess that my glasses are Versace, and that I have lingered in front of the Hugo Boss window more than once in my adult life. So I’m not exactly an ignorant uninitiated observer on the issue. I think it is important to look good and we live in a world that definitely judges us on how we present ourselves. So, all you would be Miranda Priestly types can just back off. However, I think it is time someone has to be the little boy from the Emperor’s New Clothes and say what everyone is really thinking. Have a great weekend ahead and thank you so much as always for stopping by! Don’t be afraid to comment!

Male Bimbos and the Men in Brown…

So, I’m sitting here after a long day at work watching the Martha Stewart show (again, right I know! but i like her so get over it).  It is of course an older episode, since western television programs take a year or two after they release to make their way across the Pacific.  Anyways, I’m sitting here watching and I swear I’m sitting here seeing Martha flirt with this guest on the show.  Let me set it up for you.  There is a Hawaiian Tiki theme to the show today, and she is working with this blond headed carpenter guy to build a backyard ‘Tiki Bar.’  Ok fine, so if you wanted to have a Hawaiian Luau party then it would be cute, borderline tacky I guess.  However, what is more interesting to see is that this guy is just dumb, dumb, DUMB!  Granted, he’s tall, blond, and looks a bit muscular but do straight women really go for that?  I just can’t see it myself, because I can’t get past his obvious low intellect and cave man sense of humor.  Then again, I have seen some well educated men here in Bangkok with partners obviously not chosen for their powers of conversation.  This applies to males, females, gay, straight, and whatever.  I just need some intellectual stimulation to go along with a pretty face but I guess some people settle for what they can get.  Must be something I’m missing because Martha seems pretty ‘ga ga’ over this male blond bimbo, but then again to each his own.

Finally, and in a totally different subject direction!  I came across something really interesting I wanted to share with you guys before i close off this totally random post.  I read an article today online that was in a very recent published issue of “The Economist,” magazine.  It is a very very interesting read directly related to the post I did recently on the absolute corruption of the police force here in Thailand.  It seems someone has done their research, so please take the time and have a read of this interesting article.  You will see a very descriptive and much more detailed look at what I wrote about before.  So make sure you take the time and go have a read.  Much love to you guys and as always, thanks for stopping by.  See ya again really soon!

Last Day of Freedom…

Howdy folks! Well, I haven’t written to you guys in a few days, so i thought i should sit down and bang out a few words for my loyal readers. It is late on a lazy Sunday afternoon here in the “Big Mango,” and it is the last day of vacation for yours truly. Gosh, Isn’t that just the most depressing feeling in the world? Those last few hours slipping by after you’ve been away from work for a while. Time always seems to speed up on such days doesn’t it? Well, this one has been no exception.

In case your curious, I managed to survive “Songkran 2008″ high and dry once again this year. Thanks so much for visiting and commenting on the previous 2 posts i made on the subject. I had some really good responses and want you to know i really appreciate your input. The hot Thai summer sun is still baking away outside, but I’ve had the delight of sitting here under my air conditioner for the entire duration of my last day of freedom this afternoon. I’ve been working on my lesson plans for the better part of the last five hours as tomorrow is the first day of the last term this year at work. I honestly think that the worst part about being a professional educator is the planning we have to do, as in most cases it takes up a good deal of our time outside of the classroom. However, I must admit that it will be nice to fall back into the old routine tomorrow.

Anyways, I’ve been thinking about something over the past few days that I wanted to share with you guys. I want to talk a little bit about ‘scoffing.’ Have you ever been scoffed at? I think it is one of my biggest pet peaves in life when someone chuckles at another’s thoughts and ideas with contempt and dismissal. I recently had the misfortune of working with a person that would scoff at anything or any idea from someone else. this person thought that their ideas were the only ones in the world with merit and if you disagreed then you would simply be scoffed at regardless of what you or anyone thought. Why do we scoff at one another? I watched a little bit of Fox news over the break, and the “so called” journalists laughed and scoffed at others that didn’t share their point of view. I don’t care if you don’t agree with me on an issue, but just because you don’t agree doesn’t mean i’m wrong. You can see people on both sides of mos issues laughing, mocking, and scoffing at one another but really what does such behavior accomplish? I or you could even possibly wrong about something but if someone scoffs at us how are you going to react? Are you going to listen to them and eat humble pie? No, of course not. You are simply going to turn off and it may even push you further away from issue at hand than before. I don’t know, but i wish people could be better than that and more sympathetic to their fellow men or women. A wise person once told me to never be to proud as there will “always” be someone some where that is bigger, better, and brighter than you.

Well, I think that is enough rambling for today, so i’m going to close this one here. Thanks for stopping by and will talk to you soon for sure!

More Songkran Madness…

Hello to you my wonderful readers. Well, I was finally able to find a good video to sum up the Songkran holiday after much anticipation on your part I’m sure. The opening goes on for a bit with some explanations, but trust me as it will give you some idea of the ‘festivities’ going on in every city across Thailand at the moment.  Take a little time if you have it and watch as you will understand why one cannot simply opt out of the merry making.  It is about 10:30 at night as i sit here writing for you guys and we’ve just returned home from dinner where I noted people ‘still’ out and about randomly dunking bucket loads of water on every and anyone that happens by. I had said in an earlier post that the festivities were supposed to end at sundown, but it seems this year that this rule has been ignored. Also, I had said that the holiday is only supposed to last for 3 days, but the madness has been extended to 4 days since the first day of Songkran fell on a Sunday this year. I guess the politicians thought everyone needed an extra day of drunken soakings before returning to normal daily activities on Thursday. I would also like to note before I close this post that the official death toll due to alcohol related accidents thus far has reached 180 and 1,103 traffic related injuries with only 2 days and 2 more left to go. I dare say for these unfortunate people affected by the holiday related tragedies thus far the ‘fun’ of it all is well behind them.

Songkran Exiles…

Hey folks!  Well, i’ve been sitting here and have tried for the better part of the afternoon again and again to get onto the youtube website without any success at all.  I know I had promised you guys a video clip of the insane holiday madness that is called ‘Songkran’ here in Thailand, and I’ll just have to try again later.   As you are already aware, I’ve no wish to participate in the 3 or 4 day holiday event going on right now when the whole country descends into an anarchy of drunkenness and  water gun fights filled with stagnant klong water.  However, I cannot simply chose to abstain from the festivities going on around me if i venture out in public.  Those of us wishing not to partake in water fights must bunker up in our homes till Sundown when the water fights and festivities end each day.  After that most revelers are to drunk to accost anything but a porcelain throne, but not that I’m bitter old queen or anything.  Do i sound bitter?  :-)

No, I actually don’t mind staying in as I can quite happily keep myself occupied inside all day with writing blogs for you wonderful people, watching movies, or playing WOW.  It is EXTREMELY hot here since April is the height of summer, so you are sweating within seconds of merely walking out the door.  Speaking of movies…I’m sitting here writing and passively watching the movie “Castaway,” with Tom Hanks simultaneously.   I actually watched the tail end of the movie last night  and thanks to the repetitive  nature of movie channels it is on again.  It is ok though, as I really enjoy this film.  I relate to the main character in a way much the same as i relate to Bill Murray’s character in “Lost in Translation.”  I live out my life here in Thailand isolated from the world around me and thousands of miles from my loved ones at home.  Now i know what some of my readers are thinking, and especially one reader in particular.  You would say, “but Tom! remember you choose your life” and “you choose to live in Thailand” and that’s true to some extent.  However, life isn’t that cut and dried.  Do you really think we choose all the important things in our lives such as who we love?  Do you make the conscious decision at some point in time to say to yourself…”Hey, I think I will love this person starting now, at this point in time.”  No of course not.  What would you do if i shrugged my shoulders and said you had to between love and geography?  You should ask yourself how good are your empathy skills?  :-)

So…I sit here in my semi-self imposed exile somewhat by choice and somewhat by fate.  I do miss my home with all my heart, but I also love my partner very very much.  So what choices do I have then?  The U.S. isn’t going to welcome me home with partner in hand anytime soon, despite the progressive nature of laws in other western countries like Australia, Holland, or the U.K. that do treat ‘all’ their citizens equally.  So, until my country reaches a place that grants me equal rights like heterosexual citizens, I will do my best to live positively in the country here that I’ve adopted as a second home.  There will always be things about Thailand that i don’t like or find annoying but who’s to say it wouldn’t be the same anywhere.  Gosh, where did all that come from, huh?  Anyways, much much love to you and thank you so much for stopping through to have a read.  I appreciate the little bit of time you’ve spared and please please don’t be afraid to comment.  Till next time I hope this finds you well, wherever this finds you!

Rock Head…

So, I climbed aboard one of those rickety Bangkok buses held together with duck tape and string yesterday evening for a mini vacation in the quite little seaside town of Hua Hin.  My dearest friend had traveled down the day before, and I thought I might as well join him on his last little sojourn in Thailand.  Hua is the Thai word for head and Hin is the word for rock or stone, and thus Hua Hin = Head Rock.  Sounds a bit like Bedrock now that i think of it, but anyway I arrived here late last night and made my way to my little boutique hotel.  The hotel is nicely decorated with a mix of modern and classic Thai design.  They have these Thai double doors leading into each guest room, so when you go in or out you feel like your crawling into the cupboard from the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.  The rooms have lightly stained wooden floors and all the furniture is classical Thai style done in a dark wood, that may or may not be teak.  Hard to tell, but i think that was the look they were going for.

Hua Hin is a quite little town on the western side of the Gulf of Thailand that attracts mostly tourists of Scandinavian heritage.  Well, quite most of the time as there seems to be some politician’s campaign truck that rolls around every half hour absolutely BLASTING Thai music tracks through 2 megaphones mixed with what i assume are campaign speeches.  They started this about 7 or 8 this morning, and Yes! I wasn’t exactly wishing the politician luck as I lay in bed glaring red eyed at the ceiling at 8 this morning.  Aside from that though, It is a charming little town and I’ve enjoyed a whole lot of just being lazy so far mixed in with good food.  Tonight we are going to dine at a seaside pier restaurant that serves Thai seafood dishes as you are serenaded by the sound of breaking waves beneath your feet.  The beaches are absolutely covered with boulders of various shapes and sizes and so i guess you wouldn’t exactly call it the nicest white sand stretch in the world.  However, just being able to get away from the hustle and bustle of Bangkok for a few days makes it all worth it.  I should probably get going now so, much much love to everyone and thanks so much for stopping by once again to have a read.  I can count how many of you guys are reading when i check my stats, so thanks for taking the time to visit me here and see you again soon!

Things you should know about this guy….

Happy Tuesday to you wherever this finds you and I hope your week is already treating you well.  I’m on day 4 of my between term vacation time, and already I’m starting to slip into that routine of sleeping till noon, and staying up till 3AM…Ahhh the good life!  Last Friday we had a little staff party around a colleague’s pool with lots of good conversation and red wine.  We had quite a mixed group nationalities represented like a South African, New Zealander, Mexican, Thai, and of course myself and one other being the Americans.  As the afternoon progressed the topic of conversation turned to American politics, and this wouldn’t be the first kind of these conversations I’ve had recently.  People of every walk of life from every country in the world are paying closer attention to this presidential election than any we’ve had before in recent times.  I think most citizens of other countries believe America has this one chance to redeem itself and do the right thing.

When i traveled outside the US five years ago to work, I learned something I had never known before.  My country’s reputation outside the US was and is very low.  Despite what the media in the US feed us at home, the world at large is tired of the America being the big bully, or the police force of the world.  Our leader is seen as arrogant, a war monger, and just ignorant of the responsibility of the duty of his position.  Now is finally our chance to correct and take steps to mend the damage that have been done.  Obama isn’t a miracle worker and I don’t think anyone expects him to be parting any Red Seas, but I think he is truly a step in the right direction.  Now, I’ve heard some fellow Democrats say that if Hillary doesn’t get it, then I’ll just vote for McCain.  I want you to know that the thought of that literally sends shivers up my spine, and this article I read the other day reinforces my belief that McCain will just be at least 4 more years of the same if not worse.  Have a read of the article below, and really think about where you want our country to be in 4 years.  I feel I should almost beg, but please allow your self to make the right choice when the time comes.  Enjoy your week as always and will speak to you again soon!

10 things you should know about John McCain (but probably don’t):

1. John McCain voted against establishing a national holiday in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Now he says his position has “evolved,” yet he’s continued to oppose key civil rights laws.1

2. According to Bloomberg News, McCain is more hawkish than Bush on Iraq, Russia and China. Conservative columnist Pat Buchanan says McCain “will make Cheney look like Gandhi.”2

3. His reputation is built on his opposition to torture, but McCain voted against a bill to ban waterboarding, and then applauded President Bush for vetoing that ban.3

4. McCain opposes a woman’s right to choose. He said, “I do not support Roe versus Wade. It should be overturned.”4

5. The Children’s Defense Fund rated McCain as the worst senator in Congress for children. He voted against the children’s health care bill last year, then defended Bush’s veto of the bill.5

6. He’s one of the richest people in a Senate filled with millionaires. The Associated Press reports he and his wife own at least eight homes! Yet McCain says the solution to the housing crisis is for people facing foreclosure to get a “second job” and skip their vacations.6

7. Many of McCain’s fellow Republican senators say he’s too reckless to be commander in chief. One Republican senator said: “The thought of his being president sends a cold chill down my spine. He’s erratic. He’s hotheaded. He loses his temper and he worries me.”7

8. McCain talks a lot about taking on special interests, but his campaign manager and top advisers are actually lobbyists. The government watchdog group Public Citizen says McCain has 59 lobbyists raising money for his campaign, more than any of the other presidential candidates.8

9. McCain has sought closer ties to the extreme religious right in recent years. The pastor McCain calls his “spiritual guide,” Rod Parsley, believes America’s founding mission is to destroy Islam, which he calls a “false religion.” McCain sought the political support of right-wing preacher John Hagee, who believes Hurricane Katrina was God’s punishment for gay rights and called the Catholic Church “the Antichrist” and a “false cult.”9

10. He positions himself as pro-environment, but he scored a 0—yes, zero—from the League of Conservation Voters last year.10

Sources:
1. “The Complicated History of John McCain and MLK Day,” ABC News, April 3, 2008
http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2008/04/the-complicated.html

“McCain Facts,” ColorOfChange.org, April 4, 2008
http://colorofchange.org/mccain_facts/

2. “McCain More Hawkish Than Bush on Russia, China, Iraq,” Bloomberg News, March 12, 2008
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601103&sid=aF28rSCtk0ZM&refer=us

“Buchanan: John McCain ‘Will Make Cheney Look Like Gandhi,’” ThinkProgress, February 6, 2008
http://thinkprogress.org/2008/02/06/buchanan-gandhi-mccain/

3. “McCain Sides With Bush On Torture Again, Supports Veto Of Anti-Waterboarding Bill,” ThinkProgress, February 20, 2008
http://thinkprogress.org/2008/02/20/mccain-torture-veto/

4. “McCain says Roe v. Wade should be overturned,” MSNBC, February 18, 2007
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17222147/

5. “2007 Children’s Defense Fund Action Council® Nonpartisan Congressional Scorecard,” February 2008
www.childrensdefense.org/site/PageServer?pagename=act_learn_scorecard2007

“McCain: Bush right to veto kids health insurance expansion,” CNN, October 3, 2007
http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/10/03/mccain.interview/

6. “Beer Executive Could Be Next First Lady,” Associated Press, April 3, 2008
http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5h-S1sWHm0tchtdMP5LcLywg5ZtMgD8VQ86M80

“McCain Says Bank Bailout Should End `Systemic Risk,’” Bloomberg News, March 25, 2008
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=aHMiDVYaXZFM&refer=home

7. “Will McCain’s Temper Be a Liability?,” Associated Press, February 16, 2008
http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory?id=4301022

“Famed McCain temper is tamed,” Boston Globe, January 27, 2008
http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2008/01/27/famed_mccain_temper_is_tamed/

8. “Black Claims McCain’s Campaign Is Above Lobbyist Influence: ‘I Don’t Know What The Criticism Is,’” ThinkProgress, April 2, 2008
http://thinkprogress.org/2008/04/02/mccain-black-lobbyist/

“McCain’s Lobbyist Friends Rally ‘Round Their Man,” ABC News, January 29, 2008
http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/story?id=4210251

9. “McCain’s Spiritual Guide: Destroy Islam,” Mother Jones Magazine, March 12, 2008
http://www.motherjones.com/washington_dispatch/2008/03/john-mccain-rod-parsley-spiritual-guide.html

“Will McCain Specifically ‘Repudiate’ Hagee’s Anti-Gay Comments?,” ThinkProgress, March 12, 2008
http://thinkprogress.org/2008/03/12/mccain-hagee-anti-gay/

“McCain ‘Very Honored’ By Support Of Pastor Preaching ‘End-Time Confrontation With Iran,’” ThinkProgress, February 28, 2008
http://thinkprogress.org/2008/02/28/hagee-mccain-endorsement/

10. “John McCain Gets a Zero Rating for His Environmental Record,” Sierra Club, February 28, 2008
http://www.alternet.org/blogs/environment/77913/

Courtesy of our friends at moveon.org

I am not a plastic bag…

valbag1b.jpg

So, I was riding home on the BTS this afternoon after work sitting there absorbed in my ipod as usual, and mindlessly staring at the people in front of me clinging to the straps and bars as we hummed along.  Now, bear in mind that I’m just like a million other people on public transportation around the world in that I normally try to tune out people around me as I make my daily commutes.  However, today I noticed this trendy looking little Thai lady in front of me in lovely designer dress and fashionable high heels.  Well…actually not so much the lady as the purse slung over her arm.  She had this big dark leather purse with the words “I am not a plastic bag!” creatively stitched to the side of the hand bag to make it super trendy.

Ok, so never mind that it was a big purse made of leather and that it looked a tad tacky, because it was what she had in her other hand that amused me the most.  In her other hand she was holding 3 plastic shopping bags with 1 separate item in each of the 3 bags.  I sort of smirked to myself and had a little inner chuckle at this woman sporting this trendy “green”  designer bag in the name of high fashion, all the while obviously oblivious to the cause .  However, It isn’t just her because I’ve seen a disturbing new trend arise here in Bangkok lately.  Recycling has become the “in” thing to do and every where you look you can buy fabric shopping bags with trendy “green” slogans printed on them.  A friend of mine even bought one recently nicely sealed in plastic wrap and of course, put in a plastic bag at the completion of the purchase.  Why, even yesterday I popped into the Emporium Shopping Center here in Bangkok to pick up my new glasses and there was a mini “Save the Earth,” concert being held in the event hall.  There were shoppers all standing/sitting around with their styrofoam cups of tea and plastic shopping bags listening to musicians play in front of a screen cycling through pictures of glaciers, polar bears, and drought stricken villagers some where.

Now please don’t get me wrong.  I’m all for going ‘green’ and doing your part for the environment.  I like to think I do my own little things to be conscious about the issue like using public transport, walking up the flight of steps where I live instead of using the elevator, or refusing to let the bewildered  7-11 staff put each individual item I purchase in separate individual bags.  I honestly think it is an important issue in today’s world but something tells me someone here in Thailand has lost the point some where along the way.  I’ve got 3 words for you…education, education, education.  Just my two cents though, so I’ll get off my little soap box for now.  I hope everyone is having a great week thus far, and chin up as the weekend is almost here!  Till next time thanks for stopping by for a read.

April Fools and the Heat…

songkran.jpg

Happy April Fool’s Day!  Has anyone put one over on you yet today?  If your reading this before you start your 1st day of April then keep it in mind as you journey through your day.  I got my kids here at school this morning pretty good, as I had them believing Mr. Tom had a glass eye.  I had them all leaning forward closely to examine my eyes, mouths agape at the realness of my supposed glass eye…it was funny stuff!  However, my friend at work today got me pretty good a bit later, as she came storming into my classroom and said the Director of the school had phoned to say that we needed to work every day next week.  Now, keep in mind that this week is the end of our term 2, which begins a 2 week break for us here next week.  Needless to say my blood began to boil immediately and thoughts of resignation begin to surge forward in my mind! :-)  Never mind!  April Fools!

I’m really looking forward to the off time next week, but the dreaded Thai holiday Songkran is just on the horizon.  We’ve been through the western new year on the 1st of January, and then Chinese New Year in February, and now Thai New year (Songkran) rolls over in the height of summer here in Thailand.  April is the hottest month of the year here in Thailand, and so to celebrate Thais spend 3 days in constant water fights.  Teens roam the streets in the back of pick-up trucks with barrels of water to soak any and everyone they see roaming the streets.  You can’t opt out of the festivities, or even plead to avoid being soaked…Nope!  If you get caught out on the streets April 13-15 then you are fair game.  It sounds fun right?  Well, in my opinion, it is only fun if you are actively playing and joining in the festivities.  If you want to go out for a movie, to lunch, or even to visit a friend then you are subject to be accosted with buckets of potential ice cold water on the streets.  Needless to say…this old Grinch of a queen hates it!  So, I will spend the better part of my holiday bunkered up in my condo surfing the net, watching TV, and playing WOW.  I’ll try to post a video of some of the Songkran madness up on the blog later for you guys!  I’m off for now and sincerely wish you a pleasant and productive week ahead!