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!

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!

Red Tape Part 2….

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Well, I finally made it to Saturday evening here in one piece after a mentally exhausting week down at the office. I know that i have hinted a few times in my previous entries that things are not all rosey at work, and I’ve tried to keep work complaints out of my blog despite the stress it causes me from time to time. Today that ends!!!! How does that old saying go about life imitating art? I can’t exactly remember, and not that I’d call my ramblings on here art anways. Something happened yesterday day that relates so closely to my previous post on red tape and visa work that I felt it a relevant topic to share with you my family, friends, and the occasional curious stranger.

I was checking emails early yesterday morning while sipping my coffee from my superman mug, and the office clerk was busily shuffling and re-shuffling her papers sprawled across her desk. I casually turned and inquired as to the current status of my work permit, as it is still being held hostage somewhere behind mountains of red tape. I was given a brusk “In process” and as my current visa runs out in 2 weeks I pushed a little further for more information. She mumbled in Thai the usual complaints about being so busy, and why do foreigners always want to know everything, but I wasn’t backing down this time. So i asked what the problem was, and she starts to explain to me bits and pieces of the drama that would unfold. I am informed over my coffee, that my nearly completed Masters Degree in “Education” is not adequate anymore to obtain a teacher’s license, which is needed to obtain a work permit…which is needed to extend my visa. She went on to explain that the shifting sands of Thai law have changed again and that the “powers that be” have decided that if one doesn’t possess a bachelor’s degree in Education, then a Masters in Education isn’t adequate enough to qualify one as a teacher. (Insane and totally illogical I know) So basically….she tells me that my 2 and a half years and nearly 9,000 dollars spent where all for not…money and time wasted down the toilet. Further, in the same breathe she starts talking over my head to the office manager in Thai “about” me and what I might have to do if the process can’t be finished in 2 weeks. She says to the office manager that i might have to pay an additional 50 dollars to extend 10 more days and then if that isn’t enough time then I might have to exit the country for a 3rd time to apply for a new working Visa abroad. Now imagine that all the while i’m sitting there…literally sitting between this conversation about me going on over my head, and so try to imagine my face slowly going red and with steam starting to seep from my ears.

My patience snapped and I shouted that I would NOT be paying anymore money because of her inability to get my paperwork sorted out in time. Nor would I be coming out of pocket for yet another visa run, because of the inept ability of some rude office clerk or because of the inefficiency of the various Thai ministry’s bureaucrats in processing little bits of paper at the rate of a sickly army of snails. I was furious!!!! So, by this time the bell had rung and it was past time for me to head off to the kiddies, and as luck would have it we were due to practice a “Pep” rally for our students. So I needed to suddenly put on a happy face and get ready to cheer our team’s chants! Ahhh, the frustrations of life here sometimes.

So, I waited till later in the day when the owner of the school arrived and she cleared up the whole mess a bit better. Apparently, despite what the moronic clerk had told me, I have been issue a temporary teacher’s license based on my qualifications….which ARE still considered an adequate teaching credential. However, at some point I will have to take some 4 day Thai cultural course and exam for some reason and my boss assured me over and over that there was nothing to worry about. She said that we had 2 years and that the government was bound to shift between now and then, thereby changing all the rules yet again. Therefore, the inept office clerk just had not one clue what she was talking about and ran her mouth off trying to save face (Which is another extremely annoying aspect of Thai culture i’m not going to go into today). Therefore, keep your fingers, toes, and whatever appendage you’d like crossed that the dust will settle soon. I hope everyone finds some way to make their weekend special and talk to you next time! Hopefully with a more cheerful topic. ;-)