Google It – 14th February 2023

Just give me the answer
I don’t want to think
The end result the same
No waste of pen and ink
I don’t want to learn
Just want to jump the queue
Find the fast way forward
And the easiest way through
Smart enough to cheat
I’ll copy from the best
And when the time comes
I’ll just bluff the test
If I end up in the field
Painfully planting rice
I’ll remember those times
At the top were really nice

Today I’m feeling:
Smooth, content. I didn’t get enough sleep last night but it hasn’t put me in a bad mood. More like a dream state that I’m gliding through.
Today I’m grateful for:
The lady that always serves me at Oasis. She recognises me now and knows that I like to add sugar, vinegar and pickled chilli to my food.
The best thing about today was:
Relaxing a little into my classes today and enjoying the interactions with everyone. I was also heartened to receive small valentines gifts from my old students as well as stickers from my current ones.
What was out of your control today and how did you handle it?
Amy called me and was annoyed and upset. I’d been to the hospital to see the psyche but I didn’t wait around to get the meds as there were too many people waiting. I knew I could come back later when it was quieter. At some point, the hospital called Amy’s number because I hadn’t collected the meds. Amy’s phone diverts to her mum here in Thailand and then she calls Amy. I don’t know why no one calls me! Amy checked on the camera and thought I wasn’t at home as I’d kept the doors all closed because of the air pollution but I was in the living room eating food and watching TV. When she called she wanted to know where I’d been and talked in an accusatory manner and this annoyed me as I was feeling very good until then. Anyway, a little while later I’d worked my mood back into feeling positive again and called her at our regular time. She was tired and still a little grumpy so we didn’t talk long. Everything will be fine again.
Something I learned today?
I’ve read a little about a serious train derailment in Ohio that caused a huge explosion of dangerous toxic chemicals and that it hasn’t got much coverage there as the US focuses its media towards its coming war with China and having its population on board with that idea. Some reports have said that the effects of the situation are worse than a nuclear reactor meltdown!
I can feel it will soon be time to disconnect from news again soon. Everything is just seemingly fucked everywhere you look.
What makes me laugh?
Really there are not many things that make me laugh as such. I still enjoy comedy etc but that has a purpose to make you laugh. So the main thing that makes me laugh is, of course, my students. They make me laugh when they are happy and playful but also when they are angry and emotional.

I took this picture because the morning sun burns red through the haze on the horizon.

And Then… – 10th February 2023

At the vanguard, the pinnacle
No longer an unknown fuzz
It doesn’t get better than this
And then it does
At the peak of the mountain
After setting the world on fire
Nowhere left to go after this
And then someone else goes higher
Supersonic humanitarian jets
Speed help to any disaster
Always first on the scene
Until someone else goes faster
Everything pushed to the limit
Achievement no longer a buzz
It doesn’t get better than this
And then it does

Today I’m feeling:
Rundown and a little bored and unenthused.
Today I’m grateful for:
The Mama noodles, egg, onion and dried protein from Oasis that formed my dinner. All the people involved in making, packaging, buying and selling and delivering these separate ingredients that made into my kitchen, my bowl and then my belly.
The best thing about today was:
I’m not in the best of moods today though purely due to tiredness. I did feel better after eating and did then enjoy reading another Anton Chekov story ‘Ariadne’ which at one point describes that deep emotional love of connection with another body that one must savour completely. I also got absorbed in another chapter of Affluenza in the evening too.
What was out of your control today and how did you handle it?
I couldn’t force myself up and out of bed this morning. I ate a weed gummy a couple of hours before going to bed last night and was maybe feeling the lingering effects of that. Consequently, I was late to get to school, which shouldn’t really be a problem this week though. I went for coffee and struggled through adding more blog entries before heading back home and lazily watching some videos and finally hopping into bed with all cats present. I quickly fell asleep but also quickly woke up again which surprised me. I was still tired but suddenly I was no longer sleepy. I could feel myself getting grumpy during Amy’s calling at dinner time. She was a little emotional about missing our cats and was also a little drunk and talkative. She happily talked whilst I prepared my food and ate it and I’m glad I didn’t let my own emotions take over and cut our conversation short. I felt a little better by the time we said good night.
Something I learned today?
Apparently cats get whisker stress if their food bowls are too deep and bend their whiskers whilst eating. I watched our cats eat this afternoon and our bowls are good for them. This was information in a video about things to do to keep your cats happy. We pretty much do them all and our cats exhibit the behaviour of happy cats.
What was the highlight of this week?
Undoubtedly it was walking up to Khun Korn waterfall and jumping into the water. This week has been relatively quiet so this was an easy choice.

I took this picture because Tigger is so happy in this house. He has so many spots he enjoys lying, sleeping or rolling around. Today I had to give him another shampoo clean to help with his skin problem and afterwards he went straight out into the sun but was already rolling around in the dust and leaves.

Almost – 7th February 2023

You became the master of money
And accumulated great wealth
Became a master of muscles
And maintaining physical health
But that final puzzle piece
Is still hidden as if by stealth
Couldn’t master your mind
Couldn’t master yourself

Today I’m feeling:
Happy and relaxed, waiting for the sun to drop so I can do some watering again. I’m hoping for an early rainy season again but I think this year may be long and dry, unfortunately.
Today I’m grateful for:
Manus at the post office for always being helpful and friendly and trying to help me remember the Thai word for ‘registered’.
The best thing about today was:
A long chat with Amy about different ideas and plans for the future.
What was out of your control today and how did you handle it?
I had just gotten on a roll with updating more blog entries when Fui came to House and we started talking. I’m never sure how long he will stay but I decided I had no hurry today and we ended up chatting for about 90 minutes. We often go over the same things but we learn a little more about each other each time. At points, I was keen to get back to what I was doing but I told myself to relax and enjoy this time.
Something I learned today?
You can buy a cock ring called the Tally Wacker that counts your thrusts when fucking. I’m not sure if it syncs with your health devices but maybe 100 thrusts equals a calorie?
What is one lesson I am learning right now?
We’ll have to generalise ‘right now’ a little because if taken literally all I’m learning is what I can remember from ‘around’ ‘right now’! I’m learning a little how to relax and even be bored again. This week involves a lot of tv and reading, playing guitar and listening to music. Much like many other weeks but interspersed with even less teaching than usual. It’s taken me a long time to learn to relax and in the back of my mind, I’m confident that when the time comes necessary I will be able to get right back on my game again.

I took this picture because I wanted a different angle to look at the garden. I like this mini bamboo plant that apparently cats like to eat. Not sure ours ever do though. The leafless frangipani has more focus than the other trees near it which are also now losing their leaves. The frangipanis are just starting to show leaves sprouting through now. You can also spy the tops of some of our cacti too.

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!

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.

Distracted – 10th January 2023

Distracted by all the screens
Triggering more dreams
Trying just to do
Distracted again by you
An hour as a minute
There’s no way to spin it
Things ain’t gonna get done
When distracted by more fun
Distracted by dumb emotions
And ridiculous devotions
Chasing the sublime, absurd
Distracted by every word
No doctor claimed ADHD
Because the things distracting me
Are distracting everyone
No one’s getting things done
Now normal is distraction
Five seconds of satisfaction
Distracted to even complete

Today I’m feeling:
Relaxed again
Today I’m grateful for:
To the traffic warden waving my offer to pay away as she crossed the road. I think she guessed I wasn’t staying long as I parked across a driveway and a no-parking zone. This is Thailand!
The best thing about today was:
Today has been consistent, maybe average you might say. Nothing stands out yet all the little wins were pushing the way to the positive. I like days like this.
What was out of your control today and how did you handle it?
Some students didn’t come to class and I got told that one of them got hit in the eye and probably the others thought they could slouch off and give her comfort. They soon appeared in the playground after class and I contemplated railing on them but decided not to. They got marked absent on the system so I don’t need to care any further. Though I would prefer them to do the right thing, pushing too hard can have a detrimental outcome.
Something I learned today?
I learned about an author I’d not heard of before called Fernando Pessoa and a book he wrote The Book of Disquiet. It sounded very intriguing.
What’s your favourite feature on your smartphone?
I guess the camera as I generally use it more often than other generic smartphone things. I barely use the phone anymore to call people. I suppose FaceTime and iMessage are standard features on this phone and they get used daily to video call and text with Amy.
If it came to apps I would go for Day One journal where I’m writing this and Stitcher for listening to podcasts which I do on my drive each day. LINE is probably my most used app as that is what we use for communications in our classes.

I took this picture because here’s the worst camouflage cat you’ll ever see. I think that’s why he doesn’t go outside much and doesn’t often bring us ‘gifts’

Dead Fred – 9th January 2023

It’s a baggy-eyed business
This thinking of words
Hoping just sleeping
On the line with the birds
A birthday party is humming
A familiar feeling of lack
It’s an obscene affair
But those words are coming back

based on Nick Cave’s Red Hand Files #217

Today I’m feeling:
Relaxed and happy
Today I’m grateful for:
The bathroom at House. I had to go into the city after drinking coffees and water at House and in the time from leaving to heading back school I was busting. I didn’t think I’d make it to school so quickly ducked back to use the bathroom at House – just in time!
The best thing about today was:
Eating the bread that Nut made and brought round yesterday along with the smoked salmon and cream cheese Amy left here. I’m so happy to have people around me to feed me!
Also talking with Amy on video call. Though she’s far away it feels like she’s right here. Conversation and communication hasn’t changed since she left, just the method.
What was out of your control today and how did you handle it?
I think it’s good that it’s getting harder to think of things that were out of my control. I don’t recognise those things so easily now as they don’t affect me, I’ve let go. Sure, there was lots that was out of my control today but it was all inconsequential. Can I say they were handled without even thinking?
Something I learned today?
Robert Frost’s The Road Not Taken was written as a jest to his friend but has been turned, rightfully I think, into a call for individualism and taking chances. I like Frost’s quip ‘I’m never more serious than when I’m joking.’ Truth is often told in jest.
Where can you reduce clutter in your life?
Physically I’m relatively uncluttered these days. As I’ve gotten older, spaces I’ve lived in have gotten bigger whilst I’ve been buying less. So the stuff I do have is just more spread out. Digitally I’m trying to reduce the clutter of my photos and music library. This has involved me doing nothing so far but knowing that this is where I can reduce clutter in my life.

I took this picture on Saturday because it’s all about the edges. Where the water meets the land, dividing it, where stories are made and bridges built. The mountains and the sky, clear division.

There You Are – 8th January 2023

No matter which road you take
You’ll always sigh
And wish you’d taken another
Yet no error is a true mistake
Do you know why?
Because really, there is no other

inspired by The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost, who wrote the first three lines in a letter to Edward Thomas, whom the poem was written for.

Today I’m feeling:
Pretty good, a little weird that Amy, who fills up my world when here, is gone again. Just me and the cats.
Today I’m grateful for:
A customer at Utopia who I’ve seen there before greeted me this morning. I returned the greeting and will try to chat more with him in future.
The best thing about today was:
Getting a bit of motivation back, though it took until it got dark again for me to start actioning it. I cleared a few emails in backlog, picked up the guitar again and sorted out more of the neverending files of new music to enjoy.
What was out of your control today and how did you handle it?
I told Amy about our broken pipe perhaps in the hope that she knew who could fix it. She called to her parents and soon they were here and dad was hacking away at the concrete around the pipe. I wasn’t sure how necessary that was or what he was trying to do, but I let him get on with it. Amy’s dad is ok at fixing things but they are done with ease in mind rather than aesthetics. Much as I would do if I attempted to fix things and that’s why I usually prefer to pay someone to do it instead. Dad gave up in the end and said he’ll find a plumber and come back. I think it would’ve been better to have come to that decision before hacking away at stuff. I’m grateful for his attempt and I didn’t really get involved. The plumber will come tomorrow and let’s hope it’s not just some guy who dad knows can fix stuff better than him. After they left I ate lunch and forgot all about it.
Something I learned today?
The name of the game being played in the Lahu village yesterday was Khosue (in Lahu) or Lukon (?) in Thai. I’m not sure I got the Thai word right as I only heard it spoken.
Can you save your time?
This is a weird question. Can I, do I, did I? I’m not sure what it’s getting at. Time is not something that can be saved. Does it mean, can you do something more quickly? Perhaps, probably. But to what end? I could get other people to do everything for me and revoke any reason to live!

I took this picture because in my effort this morning to do some gardening I snapped the pipe that the hose attaches to. The world is testing me.

Vehicle Residency – 6th January 2023

The dream was to own two
Kept in a suburban home
Now you’re lucky to have one
And live in it alone
Man’s never-ending greed
Entitled to go too far
Is a dream slipping away
As you’re living out of your car

Today I’m feeling:
Happy, busy, winding down. It’s been a busy week and has culminated in an empty house again as Amy left this morning. Now I’m listening to music and thinking about how to motivate myself back into a solo routine again.
Today I’m grateful for:
Kru Champ and my boss Nancy, who, separately, both told me I was a great teacher. I appreciate hearing that as sometimes I doubt myself.
The best thing about today was:
Playing Takraw with some students for a little while. We were all equally terrible at it but we were laughing every few seconds.
What was out of your control today and how did you handle it?
It’s been a very busy but unstressful day and nothing is coming to mind that was out of my control. Days like this are very nice though a little disturbing as I could slip into an orgasmic coma. Good days are a drug, always looking for it, chasing it, in its grip.
Something I learned today?
Amy showed me the online seller that has better prices on cat food than the ones I found. It’s gotten really expensive recently and everywhere has run out of stock. Amy was able to order and see that it was packed and on its way almost immediately. I’ll believe it when it turns up!
What’s your favourite Mexican food?
I think just vegetarian nachos. I find the Mexican food I’ve tried all tastes similar but just with a variety of textures. You can’t go wrong with vegetarian – cheese, beans, guacamole, sour cream, spicy sauce. There’s a Mexican restaurant here in Chiang Rai and thinking about this has got me hungry to go again!

I took this picture because this poor old smelly lovely dog just loves our house! The auntie who owns him says he sits on their porch always looking at our house, sometimes too impatient to know what’s going on and coming over to sit on our porch. Today he even barked at his own family as they were in the field next to our house.

Wide-Eyed Wonder – 5th January 2023

Sophistication overcame impulse
Now I’ve learned too much
Buried beneath all the study
I started losing touch
Days of concentration
Lost in a world surreal
Never more sure of anything
Never scared to feel
Dig down to the core
With the passion of a child
Days of wide-eyed wonder
When I only ever smiled

Today I’m feeling:
Relaxed enough and happy. Still a little tired from lack of sleep but not enough to get me grumpy.
Today I’m grateful for:
My late students who I locked out of class. Without them the room was quieter and more manageable and I could tell the students who were there were happier too. I’m also grateful to Anchan, who seems to have become the head of the class (which she deserves as she is more mature than the others and also more outgoing), when she confirmed to their homeroom teacher that those kids were very late and always disturbed the class.
The best thing about today was:
Not sure if was the best thing but it was funny. AimAem wasn’t in class on Tuesday and today I asked her where she was and she said she was in Bangkok. I gave her an incredulous look and jokingly asked why she didn’t invite me. She talked into her phone to translate but all her friends heard her and burst out laughing. She showed me the translation which said ‘unimportant person’ I cracked up too and pretended to be upset. Everyone was happy.
What was out of your control today and how did you handle it?
About 8 students were late for my afternoon class and when they came I’d already started the class and I told them they were too late and to leave. One of them messaged me later asking if I was upset with them as I told them I wasn’t. I told them it was their choice when to come to my class but if they are late they may miss out and the choice was theirs.
Something I learned today?
In Lithuania people don’t usually say hello to each other. I’m not sure I will ever need this information but it did stand out in a blog post I read. The thing is that they then said that they themselves did usually say hello to people. I think people in general aren’t going to say hello to everyone they pass. Nods of acknowledgement happen over time and can develop into greetings. In general I think Australians have been the friendliest people I’ve met.
What are your family’s top 3 favorite meals?
We really don’t have favourite meals as a family. Beyond Amy and I we rarely eat with the extended family and for us both we often end up eating different dishes. One thing we do like to have together though is Sichuan hotpot. Homemade is best in Chiang Rai but Sydney had many good options and obviously China and Sichuan we’re the absolute peak but I haven’t been there with Amy yet.

I took this picture because these are Amy’s famous cinnamon scrolls. She made three batches for Utopia and each time our house filled with delicious perfume. Finally she made a batch for me and her friends to eat too!