T.I.T. Podcast Episode 60: A Hallowed Cast

  • Welcome to episode 60
  • Happy Halloween from the Big Mango
  • Ghosts and Goblins…Thai style!
  • Where the Heck have you been?
  • Just not feeling it…
  • Hard to get back in the saddle again
  • Saying something nice vs. not saying at all
  • Haven’t been in a good place for a while
  • Spent several days in the N.E. of Thailand
  • Chillin in Issan
  • Issan holiday
  • Naga Fireball festival
  • Unsolved mystery like Loch Ness
  • Good eats in Issan
  • Preparing to Job hunt again…
  • Needed a recharge in the worst possible way
  • How to snap out of it?
  • The future of the T.I.T. podcast
  • Tom isn’t the only Thailand Podcast anymore
  • Go give the boys at Bangkokpodcast.com a listen!
  • Excellent weekly podcast on all things Thai
  • Worst flooding in decades….Global warming?
  • Cool season should arrive next week!
  • Tom’s favorite few weeks of the year
  • Upcoming election week in the US
  • What a bag of crazies, huh?
  • Bigotry and hate just all out in the open now….
  • Tell us what you really think, ok?
  • Demonizing intelligence can’t be a good trend
  • Dangerous roads ahead if these nuts get in office
  • Fear seems to be a good motivator for the right….
  • The difference between the ‘left’ and ‘right”
  • Why can’t people see the strength in diversity?
  • There’s a dragon quietly biding time…
  • Check me on the Facebooks!!!
  • Lurve to all my listeners!
  • The usual rambling closing remarks

Music on today’s show:

The Headless Horseman – Bing Crosby
Sweet Transvestite – The Rocky Horror Picture Show Soundtrack

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T.I.T. Podcast Episode 52: Live From Issan…

  • Welcome to episode 52
  • Tom’s visiting Udon Thani this weekend
  • On a much needed break
  • Insane activity schedules at work
  • Burn out
  • Shop talk:  accreditation malarkey
  • Minor car trouble
  • “Free flight” to Udon
  • What is Issan?
  • Issan sometimes gets a bad rap in Thailand
  • Thais are so classist
  • Monday is another National Holiday
  • What is “Makha Bucha” day?
  • Embassies jumped the gun yesterday with travel warnings
  • Ex-Premier’s court date yesterday
  • Thai Supreme Court seized 46 billion baht (1.4 billion dollars)
  • Tom wonders what they will do with seized billion?
  • A few ideas that I doubt will transpire
  • I wish Thailand could put this wanna be dictator behind them
  • Tom has done a little Pattaya exploring
  • A lot more developed than I remember
  • Saw the Wolfman movie there
  • Surreal moment coming back over the mountain
  • I wish there were more of those “moments” in life
  • Comments and more comments
  • Taylor, Ernest, and who is Little Bit!
  • Email from a listener…Hey Brendan!
  • Facebook friends
  • Rambling closing remarks and lurve

Email me at tominthai@gmail.com, please go Comment on my page or call my voice line at 1-206-426-2152 and leave me a voice comment for the show!

Download Tom in Thailand: Click Here The Freak NetworkThe RainbowPodSquad

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Happy 4th: Patriotism and the Ex-Pat…

Firstly, let me wish each and every one of my American listeners, friends, and family a VERY happy 4th of July!  I searched around the Youtubes for another version of “the Star Spangled Banner” to use this year but honestly just couldn’t find a better version than this one.  Her voice carries so much power when she sings it and the song has never once failed to move me to tears whenever I hear it.  So please give it a listen and remember there is a very patriotic ex-pat living here in Southeast Asia.

You know, I’ve never been terribly comfortable with the word “ex-pat” and how it is used as such a broad general brush to paint each and every non-native person living within a country.  If anything, I’ve become more and more patriotic each year i live abroad.  I am thankful for the country of my birth and the opportunities in life given to me solely because I’m an American citizen.  I can travel to most countries across the globe with a minimal amount of hassle, where as many citizens of other countries have to endure long and frustrating visa processing experiences.  I was given free education up till the 12th grade, in which I was taught to think independently and question my reality/experiences constantly.  So, no matter how long I’m away or how far I travel, the good old U.S. of A. will always be my home sweet home.  I wouldn’t give it up for anything!  Much love to you guys out there and I hope you have a wonderful 4th!

Attetion Spans and Slasher Flicks…

So, It is Monday here on a very soggy rain soaked Bangkok afternoon and I thought I’d sit down and share a few lines for my readers today.  I finished up the last term at work last week, so the first day of my summer holiday has officially come.  I went to the gym today thinking I would attempt to start the holiday off right, but I went to my gym’s branch I hate with the locker room like a sardine can cause it is closer.  However, despite changing in a confined space, I did enjoy a productive session and even bumped into an old friend on the way out.

I was thinking about what I should write for you guys today and unfortunately I kept coming up with a blank.  I’ve just not been feeling that creative or chatty lately and I don’t want to bore you guys by writing just for writing’s sake.  However, I finally thought of a couple of things  I wanted to “put out there” for your consideration and see if I can get some comments back on the topics.  I’d like to get some feedback from you guys on my  blog as far as optimal length of a post. How far down do you read in a person’s blog before you start to get bored?  I have a couple of blogs I enjoy that only do a paragraph or so with each post, but I also enjoy some that go on like the chapters of a novel in progress.  So, what do you think?  What is to long or to short?  How long is the average attention span of an educated adult?  Just some food for thought, and I’d honestly appreciate your feedback and opinions.

Anyways, on to my second thought which is bound to be much more thought provoking.  My questions is…Why do people like gory, slasher type horror movies?  I absolutely hate them, and I’ve had this discussion with a very close friend many times.  We agree that we just can’t work out the mass appeal of blood and guts type works of film.  I made the huge mistake of accidentally sitting down and getting caught up in watching one a while back called Hostel cause one of the actors was quite cute.   It started out looking like one of those cheap 80′s “boobs and alcohol” teen flicks, but it went terrible wrong about half way through the film.  Suddenly, these silly backpacker kids are being abducted, slowly tortured, and cut up into bits all for your viewing pleasure.  I want to know what is the appeal behind seeing a fellow man or woman sadistically or slowly murdered and tortured?  I mean sure…If you are a disturbed serial killer or psychopath then the appeal is obvious, but what about the rest of you?  Now, I’m not that thick because I know that it isn’t real, and that it is all just a story…special effects….blah, blah, blah.  However, my question still stands.  Why would you enjoy a pretend version of a fellow human being being slowly, agonizingly, tortured to death?  I also would like to differentiate between slasher films and scary monster type horror.  I can see the enjoyment out of watching a scary ghost, monster, or evil alien type of film as some enjoy a good shock of adrenalin that comes with the scare.  However, I don’t include slasher films in with this genre.  I still want to know what is the appeal?  I know some of you guys out there enjoy movies like this, so I’m hoping someone can enlighten me.  Well, on that pleasant note, I’ll be off for now.  Hope you are enjoying the start of your week wherever ever you are and will talk to you again soon!

Happy 4th of July From a Patriotic Ex-Pat…

A very warm Happy Fourth of July to you out there where ever and when ever in the world this finds you today. It is an extremely hot late Friday afternoon here in Bangkok, and my 4th of July is just about to start winding down. Now, I have a little confession to make to you guys out there today, and it is one i’m not ashamed to admit. Tom in Thailand is actually an EXTREMELY patriotic person deep at heart, and the sweet 4th of July wishes I received today made me more than a little homesick and nostalgic.

I chose this version of our national anthem to celebrate our country’s special day, as it never fails to give me goose bumps. I know Whitney is beyond tragic at the moment, but she honestly does the best job singing the anthem in my opinion.  I sat here and had a good heart lifting cry listening to it earlier from missing everything that is home. When you live abroad as a foreigner you are immediately labeled as an “ex-pat” or “ex-patriot” which is a label that has never set well with me. It sounds like i was once patriotic, but divorced my patriotism when I made the choice to move abroad. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth. I have found that living abroad in a developing country has made me even more patriotic than when I was living at home. As Americans we take a lot for granted, and you only realize that not everyone in the world has the things we have. Imagine growing up in a country without any social services at all…no welfare, no social security, no food stamps. Imagine if you suddenly had to pay a quarter or half a month’s salary to afford to send your child to a school. I’ve seen children packed into an un-air conditioned room writing on the floor cause they don’t even have desks. I’ve seen people living in tin shacks next to filthy ditches and railroad tracks. I’ve seen people who cook, go to the toliet, and shower in the same water filled ditch next to their tin shacks.

When you travel abroad and see these types of things, it makes you thankful for the things you had growing up as an American. However, dont’ get me wrong as I know our country is not perfect, and I’m the first person to agree when I hear a valid criticism. We have our faults, but on this 4th of July far away from home I’m sitting here hoping everyone enjoys their holiday for those who cannot. Watch some fireworks and have some barbecue today for me and all your fellow Americans abroad. I’m missing home something fierce today, and I sure could use the good thoughts! Have a great weekend and speak to you again soon!

What Defines Labor?

Happy Labor Day to you guys out there, one and all across the globe.  I got such good response to the vidcast I did, and i really really want to thank you guys that posted such nice comments in response.  I honestly thought I looked terrible, but happy to know it turned out ok.  Sooooo…..I will definitely be putting up more video blogs soon, and will even make them a regular part of the blog since I got such good feedback.  You really know how to make a guy blush!

Anyways, Did you enjoy your Labor day for those of you outside the US?  I know at home we celebrate in September, but Thailand and many other countries around the world have theirs today.  I learned today, while reading a message board i frequent daily, that the British spell the word L-A-B-O-U-R.  Doesn’t really make sense phonetically to me, but then again I am an American and they do spell color as C-O-L-O-U-R.  Interesting isn’t it?  However, I’m not one for being petty about the different ways we spell words on opposite sides of the Atlantic, so let’s just move on.  I also did not realize that Labor Day was an International holiday.  I know, I know….just call me naive, but then again I usually ignore holidays I don’t get off work.

I am curious to find out what defines “Labor” to you?  I often wonder why so many professions are not regarded as being “labor” intensive kids of work.  Teachers, nurses, doctors, accountants, or even journalists are not regarded as being individuals that “labor” for their hard earned money.  Therefore, this narrow definition of the word would imply that because i don’t sweat carrying bricks or digging ditches that my profession is not labor intensive.  However, I don’t think this is a fair definition of labor.  I work very hard at what I do, and I can assure you that I do “labor,” though I do not toil for hours hanging dry wall.  My profession requires a huge amount of thinking, planning, and massive amounts of brain exercise that can and does elicit a sweat on the odd occasion.

Now, before you judge, I must point out that I have worked as a “laborer” in the traditional sense eons ago.  I had the extreme misfortune of being employed at Wal-mart in the warehouse division.  Further, to compound the unpleasant job, I worked the third shift for many years prior to attending University.  I’ve tossed endless amounts of freight from the back of 18 wheeler vehicles, so I’ve been on both sides of the ‘labor’ issue.   I remember working really hard for my money back in those days, but guess what I never had to do much of?   Think….I never had to plan anything and the minimal amount of responsibility I had was nothing compared to my career duties now.  So, In my opinion I did labor then but I also do now.  I labor for hours over my responsibilities and my partner is a doctor and i need not tell you the amount of time he puts in to his profession.  We both work hard, and though I didn’t get today off…I think we deserved it.

Soooo….I think I’ll close here for today.  I’ll get off my little soap box now and put it away under the sofa.  As always, thanks so much for stopping by and will get a new vidcast up again for you soon!  Have a great end of your week, where ever this finds you in the world morning, noon, or night.  Talk to you again over the weekend!

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!

April Fools and the Heat…

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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!

Happy Easter Memories….

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Easter was a holiday that was second only to Christmas in the amount of excitement it would generate each spring growing up with my family in Alabama.  However, one particular Easter experience sticks out in my mind more than any other, and I thought i’d take another trip down memory lane with you.   My brother and I shared a room with bunk beds when we were little with me on the bottom, and him on the top.  I can remember blinking awake all bleary eyed one Easter morning and getting quite a shock.  You see, in our house the Easter bunny was a bit of a trickster and each year he would hide our Easter baskets in various places throughout the house.  Well, this particular year he had tied different color strings from our baskets to our beds and our job was to follow the strings to get our gifts.  However, the room was absolutely full of a string webbing from top to bottom.  We had to crawl over the strings to get out of the room and then we followed our different colored strings all through the house to the hidden baskets of treats.  We got baskets crammed full of chocolate bunnies, toys, and my most favorite of all….Cadbury Eggs.  My brother and I would fight over them every year if we didn’t have even numbers of Cadbury eggs, and the older we got the more Cadbury eggs it would take to make us happy.  Even years later as we aged and long had outgrown baskets, Mom still bought us Cadbury eggs each Easter.  I’m telling you even now as I write this, I wish I could get them imported here to Thailand.

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Then of course there was always the downside of Easter, which was the obligatory dress up in the new pastels and the family drag off to Easter service at Church.  I bet you don’t know any child that enjoys church, and I think everyone has their own individual stories of being pinched, prodded, or poked on Sunday mornings.  I remember Mom sitting between us on those horribly uncomfortable wooden pews to keep us from playing with each other but it never seemed to work.  So, more often than not she would resort to that perfectly aimed pinch on the back of the upper arm….and years later I still sit and shudder at the thought.  :-)  I can also remember watching the pastor, wondering why in the world he would go on and on talking for an hour when so many people in the audience seemed so uninterested in what he had to say.  People scattered throughout in their Sunday best in various states of  falling asleep or mindlessly pretending to read the church bulletin for the 20th time that day.  Ahhh, the good memories of growing up.

Also before i close this entry, I wanted to quickly write on a completely different topic for you.  I’m very very proud to announce that I FINALLY completed my visa and work permit process after months of effort and stress last week.  I received a year visa and can now be officially taxed at a rate 3 times that of the locals….hooray!  Anyways, I’m thankful my long wrestle with the endless amount of red tape is finished and thought a few of you at home might be interested to know.  So, Happy Easter and much love from Thailand.  Hope the Easter bunny is good to you!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!!

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A big warm Happy St. Patrick’s Day to one and all from the city of Angels here in Thailand. I was sitting here trying to think of something creative and thoughtful to write about the holiday, but i must confess that I’m just not feeling that inspired by the luck of the Irish this evening. St. Patrick’s Day is a holiday that I don’t really remember having big celebrations for growing up in rural Alabama, despite the heavy Irish background in my family’s history. Though I’m certainly not going to put my last name out here for the world to see, I can assure you that my last name is VERY Irish as some of you will know already. However, we did celebrate it today with the kiddies at school and I had on my green to avoid being pinched by the other foreign teachers.

Actually, the thing I thought of that I wanted to talk about today is age and health. I heard two different people on two different programs talking about age and health related issues twice today, so it naturally got me thinking about my own age and health. Firstly, I was listening to one of my favorite podcasters on my ipod on the way home from work, and one of the things he talked about was how life changes when your birthdays move beyond 30. When I was in my twenties I spend all my free time going out, and It made me stir crazy if I had to sit at home an entire evening with nothing to do. I wouldn’t have been caught dead at home on a Saturday night cause I couldn’t stand thought of missing something, no matter what that may have been. However, when the days, months and years of my life started to slip beyond 30 things changed. These days I much prefer to be at home than any where else in the world, and I actually look forward to spending the entire weekend at home being lazy and catching up on not much to do. Age has caused me to lose the desire to be out running the streets, and I honestly wouldn’t have it any other way.

However, another problem age has caused affects my health and I’ve really started to be concerned about it lately. I don’t eat any different, and I do the same routine at the gym, yet I seem to have gained weight. I heard on television tonight that our bodies really start to age after 30, and that it is important to work harder to keep in shape. It seems unfair though doesn’t it? I had all that extra energy to burn in my twenties, but nowadays I’d rather have an afternoon nap than spend a couple of hours sweating to the oldies at the gym. My partner keeps trying to get me involved in doing aerobics, but I’ve been resisting thus far. Maybe I’m just a bore, but the thought of being the only white face dancing about with a group of Thai girls in front of a plate glass window just doesn’t appeal to me. However, I must admit to you my faithful readers that I’m about treadmill and stair mastered to death. So who knows, right? The next time you pass the gym keep your eye open for the foreigner out of step, stumbling over the step bench. So in closing, as always make sure you have a great week ahead where ever you are in the world and how ever this finds you!