Teacher’s Lament – 31st January 2023

Don’t be angry with me
I know you don’t see it
But I’m trying to steer you
In the right direction
I know you’re upset
Your fun was curtailed
But I’m trying to guide you
Towards self-correction
You’ll see it one day
Long after I’m gone
It will be you
With wise words to pass on

Today I’m feeling:
A little frustrated at first but ok now. Happy.
Today I’m grateful for:
To Dr Arnon for giving me medicine and cleaning spray for Tigger’s skin problem without me having to take him in. Putting the spray on today though I can see one of the wounds on his head is big and deep, with the scab coming away. I just hope the antibiotics stop him from getting infected and it can heal quickly, otherwise, it will be another trip back for Tig.
The best thing about today was:
The very cold reception I got from my class of truants from yesterday and then as they slowly understood the work they needed to do and then have to read for me and as they did it, sometimes laughing at their mistakes and finally showing some pride at their ability to do it. They are smart kids just choosing not to be.
What was out of your control today and how did you handle it?
This morning the students were kept late at assembly and straggled into class with many things on their minds except studying. This class (1/6) has broken up into little groups that distract themselves constantly so that today no one was listening. Frustrated, I just let them leave, considering other ways or things I can teach them. Speaking with their head student though she said it’s like that in every other class too. I have a plan for tomorrow but after that… I don’t know. I do hope we get better levels of students next year or I will have to continue dumbing things down even further.
And, on top of that, the reason they were kept late was that they were being told about next week which, I just found out, is scout week! Another whole week of no classes! Any possible momentum to get going after sports week, lost again!
Something I learned today?
Luckily the thing I was trying to remember yesterday was brought back to mind today as it was whilst I was listening to the End On End podcast talking about the Autoclave record and the track Hotspur. One of the hosts mentioned that Hotspur was the name of a character in a Shakespeare play (I forget which) and just word Hotspur reminds me of one of Rik Mayall’s outrageous characters in the Black Adder. I hope to find some books of Shakespeares’ plays with cliff notes to help me understand it all. I have one on the shelf already but it’s not really at the top of the pile yet.
What is something I want to do for myself in the coming year?
Lose fat.

I took this picture because it’s not often that Tigger is close to Cap or Kim.

Ermine’s Anger – 30th January 2023

Death shed its dead skin
The anger evaporated within
Never amounted to anything
Always contemptuous of joy
The sign of a dumb boy
Devastation healed the wound
Which I myself had groomed
With a perception then assumed
The divide between us real
As now and the past reveal

inspired and pilfered from Nick Cave’s The Red Hand Files #220 and a question from Ermine

Today I’m feeling:
Energetic and content.
Today I’m grateful for:
The music store in Germany where I bought a bunch of CDs from that arrived today. More music to listen to!
I’m also grateful to the band from Istanbul that contacted me to help with their 2nd album release. It’s aces and I hope I can be involved somehow.
The best thing about today was:
Feeling energetic again. I cruised along getting things mentally crossed off lists of things that needed to be done and that I wanted to do.
I also enjoyed playing with Tokyo out in her driveway as she rolled around happily. She got a little bitey but not aggressively. She’s a lovely dog that could benefit from some proper training.
What was out of your control today and how did you handle it?
Both my classes had control problems today. The first was noisy but happy and mostly doing what I asked of them. I handled it by letting them do as they wished once they’d completed their tasks.
The second class were late and after ten minutes I shut the doors and started teaching, not letting anyone else in. This meant less than half the class attended and it was excellent as I could focus my efforts on everyone. I handled the situation without getting annoyed or upset and letting the kids enjoy their choice not to be in class. It’s up to them now.
Something I learned today?
Today I consciously thought ‘ah, this is something I can write for this section today’ and now…..blank! What was it! (10 minutes later) Nope. It’s gone. I’ll probably remember sometime tomorrow. I should make note of it straight away! Duh!
What is something I want to do for others in the coming year?
I want to help musicians to spread their music further into South East Asia as much as I can from my remote location.
I also want to help my students improve their chances of being able to go abroad by motivating them to study English more.

I took this picture because this is the Kim Chi lookalike from the hairdressers yesterday. I like that the shot is not correct, focus in the wrong place and half the head not in frame. It was an action shot. I took another picture just before this that did have everything correct but favour this one.

The Real Secret – 29th January 2023

Six million years of work went into this
I know it seems weird to explain
There’s no magical shortcut or formula
To access the power within your brain

inspired by Robert Greene’s Daily Laws

Today I’m feeling:
A little more clear-headed and positive.
Today I’m grateful for:
My hairdresser and her Kim Chi lookalike cat, that rolled and rubbed whilst I waited my turn. The hairdresser cuts my hair as I ask no matter how stupid it seems to her. I can fix it with gel and time as I like. I’m glad she studies up the back and sides and even trims the hair in my ears, which does make it difficult to pull them out whilst I’m waiting in traffic but never mind, I still appreciate it.
The best thing about today was:
Watching a Chinese movie called Better Days which was pretty good and I’m glad of the fact that I was able to watch it all in one go which I’ve been finding difficult recently as I find myself getting bored more quickly with things these days perhaps victim of the TikTok quick hits of dopamine that the youth are enjoying.
What was out of your control today and how did you handle it?
The dirty floor is out of control and I’ve handled it by ignoring it. Next weekend Aing and Now will come and stay on Sunday so I know I will have to clean on Saturday so I’m waiting until then if I can bear it.
Something I learned today?
I watched Jordan Peterson talking about his employer asking him to attend social media reeducation classes which sounds a little odd. He’s a health expert ( I can’t remember exactly what) and sometimes posts online about things unrelated to his job such as politics. I suppose the things he says could impact his employer by association if they were some form of hate speech and it seems like there are some folks out there who are so easily offended these days that that is what they think it is. It seems gone are the days of differing ideas and opinions. Since the Twin Towers were destroyed you are either with us or against us, no matter what. Bin Laden has achieved exactly what he wanted as western capitalist democracies eat themselves from the inside with this attitude. I try to be sensitive to everyone’s opinion unless I really do find it hateful but most people’s ideas are born from ignorance or circumstance.
What is my biggest dream for the year ahead?
A lot of this type of question in January. My biggest dream is to live to see next January. A lot can happen in a year. Dream? I don’t know. I’m comfortable, I have all I need.

I took this picture because I heard Kim growling whilst I was reading in bed. It’s unusual for her to growl so I got up and found this. I don’t know who brought it in. From nose to tail, this ex-rat was longer than Kim’s body.

Weil, Weil, Weil – 28th January 2023

There’s a moral obligation to provide
The more power, the more the obligation
Punish those with their authority
Cheating at a higher level of corruption
Yet these moral rules never applied
As they’d level the field for all to play
Perhaps we do not have moral principles
As Simone was want to say

inspired by an Existential Comics page about Simone Weil

Today I’m feeling:
Tired and dizzy, swaying between depression and happiness
Today I’m grateful for:
Amy’s mum and dad again, bringing me food and watering the garden when I had no enthusiasm for cooking/eating or any kind of effort. I need to water daily now as the ground is getting so parched but I haven’t had the energy for 3 or 4 days.
The best thing about today was:
Reading a lot – it was the only thing that felt satisfying. I played guitar for a while but got frustrated easily. I almost finished updating one book of writing into the blog and started preparing my old poems and lyrics so that felt like I achieved something today. For the afternoon I savoured a few more Anton Chekov short stories, a couple of chapters of Affluenza and a couple of issues of Touch and Go. I was reading to get inspiration to write some poems but my brain is still muddled from medicines though I did finally manage to squeeze out four lines.
What was out of your control today and how did you handle it?
I video-called with Amy a couple of times during the day. She had been out drinking with her flatmate and was in a happy mood. Unfortunately, I wasn’t but I told myself that I was happy to see her so happy and she did look attractive to me with her big laugh and bright eyes.
Something I learned today?
Through reading today I must have learned lots of things but perhaps they are not particularly significant as they reinforce things that I already know or believe.
What am I looking forward to in the coming year?
This is not something I’ve really thought about. I expect this year to be similar to last and that would be fine for me, I really enjoyed last year. I do look forward to Amy coming back and trying her hand at running a business here and that would entail some changes with the house and that would be an exciting development. But if that doesn’t happen I know everything will still be fine.

I took this picture because this weird plant that seems to grow easily around our cactuses (it may even be a cactus) sported some flowers I found today. The root of the plant grows at crazy angles, sometimes even turning a full 180. I’ve stuck them against some fencing to hopefully encourage them to go straight for a while!

It’s Not Football Anymore – 27th January 2023

No more beers at half time
Or a quick drag on a fag
Now it’s all about advertising
The game has become a drag
No more fat moustaches
Or divots on the pitch
Now it’s all about the money
And seeing who can get rich?

Today I’m feeling:
Tired and dizzy. All the medicine has fought off the pain and cold but now I feel like a chemical cesspool. I just want to sleep until tomorrow and stop taking medicine so that I’ll be recovered by Monday.
Today I’m grateful for:
Being able to fall back on online games like Kahoot to fill my student’s class time so that I could come home and rest more.
The best thing about today was:
Reading lots of comics in bed as I dipped in and out of sleep this afternoon. I’m catching up on old 2000AD annuals and specials so that I’m in the same time frame as the weeklies where I’m approaching issue 1000. Not even halfway through! Maybe I will finish reading in another ten years.
What was out of your control today and how did you handle it?
The one class I did have this morning was poorly attended and the students were in a lively mood, to say the least. I set a writing task about what they did this week and just went around helping them find the right words and grammar. It was interesting to have so few kids in the class for a change and it changed the dynamic a lot but still, a group of 12 and 13-year-olds together are going to be a handful.
Something I learned today?
I watched YouTube videos of Yan (Little Chinese Everywhere) in Turkey and Stamp Fairtex (Thai MMA fighter) in the US and there are so many interesting places in the world that I would like to see. But why does it feel like the world is fragmented and angry?
How can I rest or relax more often this year?
If I rest or relax anymore this year I’ll stop moving. I think I’d like to rest less and be more active.

I took this picture because it’s almost impossible to not take a picture when faced with this scene as I step out in the morning.

Better Days – 26th January 2023

We didn’t ask to be born into this world
Those felt like better days before
If you don’t get fucked from the right
You’ll be fucked from the left for sure
And just who is going to protect us?
A guardian angel, out of the blue?
A fall guy descends into hell
So that you can live your life true?
It can never be as clear as that
Time and guilt will take their toll
Will justice find better days again
To find a freedom for us all?

inspired by the Chinese movie Better Days

Today I’m feeling:
Sick, tired but reasonably positive
Today I’m grateful for:
The nurses who did their best at the hospital. It was hectic and there was a feeling of frustration in the air. I didn’t feel too bad but the sign said to ask them again if waiting longer than 30 minutes so I did. It was obvious they were busy and I was ok with that but once I’d mentioned it to them it felt like they rushed me through.
The best thing about today was:
I went to school this morning and saw everyone preparing for the sports day parade, lots of kids all dressed up and unrecognisable, happy and jovial. I felt sorry to myself that I didn’t feel better and able to stay and cheer on all the different teams.
What was out of your control today and how did you handle it?
I was at the hospital for two and a half hours in total. I went to just get checked out about my sore rib. It took half the time to get to see a doctor who didn’t think I had a fracture as they guessed I would be in more pain. The consultation took about 5 minutes. The rest of the time spent waiting to pick up medicine. For everyone’s time and effort, it was only 275 baht. Consultation and four lots of pills. Nice.
Something I learned today?
More about articles 35 and 36 in the Chinese constitution and how they guarantee more rights than the American constitution. The war of propaganda the US wages sure is strong. I’m coming to respect China more and more over time.
How can I show more gratitude this year?
I often am grateful for people in and around my life so I guess I should think about ways of actually showing them my gratitude beyond a simple thanks. I should keep some small gifts with me at all times or something like that.

I took this picture because Amy’s cacti are coming along well. We’ve lost a few on the way but many are going great guns. This picture is from about ten days ago as I’ve not felt well today and remembered to take any pictures.

Give Me The Shot – 25th January 2023

A rose-tinted bubble of positive illusions
Given by all as if a truth foretold
Could not prepare anyone for all the confusions
Reality brings forth as contradictions take hold

the first line is taken from Affluenza by Oliver James and the title relates to the vaccines offered for the virus of affluenza

Today I’m feeling:
Sick with a head cold. I had felt it coming on for the last couple of days but couldn’t fight it off anymore.
Today I’m grateful for:
There not being any real need for me to be at school as it is still sports day. I’m glad I could sleep in and rest more.
The best thing about today was:
A three-hour afternoon nap, knocked out by medicine for a runny nose and cough. I hope it knocks me out again tonight.
What was out of your control today and how did you handle it?
My cough is out of my control and made worse by the pain in my ribs. I think I will go to the hospital on Saturday just to get them checked.
Something I learned today?
I learned a little about the gell-mann amnesia effect which relates to confirmation bias when it comes to reading media ‘news’.
What new creative project or hobby would I like to start this year?
The one I wanted to start last year of making music in Ableton. I’m so tied up with getting my past into the blog that I don’t feel compelled to spend time on it yet though. Anyway, I’m happy either way.

I took this picture because it was hard to miss this monster on our terrace. Amy would’ve screamed if she’d seen it. She gets a very bad rash from even the hairs of these floating in the air.

The Sinners – 24th January 2023

Cold eyes watch the quiet shuffle
Into the box of hungry confession
A crust of bread, two glasses of water
A dogmatic ritual obsession
Mary and St John aside the cross
Glare ominous at this loathsome boy
Bowing down, accepting absolution
Returning soon cleansed with joy

*based on Anton Chekov’s In Passion Week

Today I’m feeling:
Happy though I have a runny nose and feel a little run down.
Today I’m grateful for:
My students Nice and Stamp keeping me up to date with their classmates’ news and gossip, though it made me a little sad to see them all splitting up at the end of the semester.
The best thing about today was:
Getting my work permit sorted without any waiting time or problem.
What was out of your control today and how did you handle it?
Baitoey decided to tell her mum that she went to the hospital and that I took her. Her mum then called the school to ask if they knew about this and eventually Kru Tongjai contacted me about it. She said that she has to be informed if any of her students go outside the school just in case anything happens, which I understand. The thing is that I didn’t know who I should have contacted at the time and I wondered if Baitoey would have still wanted me to take her to the hospital if she had to tell Kru TJ first. I knew it was a delicate situation and could cause me trouble but I considered Baitoey’s trust and health first.
Something I learned today?
Talking with Nice today she told me about her own battles with her mental health and showed me where she had cut herself on her arms. She also mentioned that she didn’t know what to believe about Boss and Baitoey because they have a history of being flexible with the truth. It did make me consider that perhaps they had lied to me but I don’t think so. Even if things weren’t quite as they said they are still obviously having issues and maybe not sure how to express themselves.
What values will guide my choices this year?
Fairness, kindness, understanding. As generalisations at least! What choices will I face? There are none of significance on the immediate horizon.

I took this picture because it was the last one before my battery ran out, taken at the Kasalong Restaurant, PB Valley on Saturday. No new pictures today.

Poker Face – 23rd January 2023

A bridge is beckoning
And she’s holding the rope
Talk of a reckoning
Now unable to cope
Don’t take that flight
Out of selfish pride
Step up to the fight
Your future undenied
The love you never felt
Maybe on its way
Fold the hand dealt
Here to stand and stay

Today I’m feeling:
Happy in myself, a little stressed for others.
Today I’m grateful for:
The kind psychiatrist that talked with me and Baitoey about her problems and ideas to help her. Baitoey scored very poorly on her psychiatric evaluation and I didn’t realise quite how bad she is feeling. The psychiatrist was nice, calm and helpful though and asked me to come back with Baitoey if she doesn’t want her parents to come next time.
The best thing about today was:
I had an enjoyable time walking around school and watching different sports events that many of my students are involved in. There was a really good atmosphere, and everyone was having fun.
What was out of your control today and how did you handle it?
When I got to the hospital with Baitoey it was just as they closed the department for lunch for an hour. Instead of just sitting there I decided to head to TLC to pick up my work permit documents and swing by Oasis to pick up food for dinner. When I got to TLC there was no one there but I messaged and waited for a bit and eventually, Nancy appeared with my documents. I jokingly asked if the application money was there too and was shocked when she said that TLC would reimburse the fee this year! Cool! Baitoey waited patiently in the car and then we headed to Oasis but when we got there it was shut! Damn, I was looking forward to their food too! Oh well, never mind. We got back to the hospital in time just as they reopened again.
Something I learned today?
Old mate Dean Crowe is playing in a band called Potential and will your New Zealand and catch up with Kieran and Chrissie there. I want to go to NZ again!
What would I like to savour or enjoy more often this year?
I’d like to enjoy better health and having more energy. To savour doesn’t really come into it because savouring can come at odd times, sometimes unexpectedly.

Art and I took these pictures on Saturday because as I was taking the picture of P’ti he was taking the picture of me.

Negative Spurs – 22nd January 2023

You’re either winning or learning
Embrace the struggle and pain
Push through your muscles burning
Get back up and do it again

title appropriated from Robert Greene’s Daily Laws

Today I’m feeling:
Happy, relaxed and a little sore in my right side chest from when I came off the bike yesterday
Today I’m grateful for:
My aching body reminding me that I am still alive, reminding me of days past when wounds and pain were a part of everyday adventure.
The best thing about today was:
Having a long conversation in LINE with my student Mee after she told me she doesn’t know why she is alive. I talked about a lot of different things with her such as the dichotomy of control and methods of improving self-talk but the thing she really took to was different things to do to distract herself from spiralling out of control with negative thoughts. I told her about the FutureMe website and she immediately went off and her future self an email. It will give her a spark, something to live for, just to receive her own email after she has forgotten about it.
What was out of your control today and how did you handle it?
Waking up in the night to the sound of one of our cats throwing up. I was just hoping it wasn’t on my donna but when I woke up unfortunately it was. Amy’s doona was still hanging from last night as well as the week’s clothes but there was nothing else for it except to wash my doona and hang it over my drying clothes and hoping everything would get a chance to dry. It did.
Something I learned today?
The beginning of the Jam’s Start is ripped off from the Beatles’ Taxman, a song I don’t think I’ve ever heard before until today.
If you could have 2 wishes, what would they be?
Wishes again? Ok, let’s play.

  1. I have the power to grant people two wishes.
  2. Any wish anyone makes can have no negative outcome for anyone or anything now or in the future.
I took this picture because I have to shampoo Tigger to try and clean up his skin from a fungal infection. But as soon as I’ve finished he, smartly, goes out into the sun but then rolls around in the stones which is how he gets the infection in the first place.