Wanted Dead – 5th May 2023

Another day of life spent in the shadow of the sun
This is a wasteland of the free that I’m running from
How to remain calm when surrounded by the storm?
The nail gets hammered down in order to conform

Today I’m feeling:

It feels stupidly hot today. I’ve been in aircon on full for much of the afternoon.  I finally felt good enough to drop a half of acid again, which probably isn’t helping with the heat for sure but it’s been a nice gentle happy dose that has seen the time cruise by nicely.

Today I’m grateful for:

The two new cups that Art has at Utopia that he uses for my cappuccinos now. They are Japanese and feel very nice in the hand and I can also feel that the coffee comes out smoother than in my old cup, which I liked too, it’s just different.

The best thing about today was:

With the little dose, I ended up playing guitar for a couple hours, until the B string broke which isn’t so bad as it will finally force me to change the strings.

What was out of your control today and how did you handle it?

Time does funny things when you’re dosed and I ended up not eating a proper meal today which is good news for tomorrow but I got by today on snacks, candy and lots of water and coconut juice. Lots!

Something I learned today?

I learned that Lenovo is a Chinese brand and heard about some of its history. I knew they were connected with IBM in some way but got a better idea of how they kind of merged parts of their business. 

What is my idea of the perfect vacation?

I generally feel like I’ve been on vacation for the last five years even though I’ve been working most of the time. Would a perfect vacation involve doing some other kind of work? Perhaps. The tour I had lined up for 2020 with World’s Dirtiest Sport would have been the perfect kind of vacation as I’d arranged it to go places I haven’t been before. It would’ve been work stress and fun all at the same time. It’s hard for me to even think about vacations now. I’m happy to go anywhere and enjoy the travel but don’t really have any set ideas in my head. I’d still like to look around the rest of Asia. Europe and the US aren’t really up on my list of interests these days. There’s Africa, the middle east and Latin America out there but they seem far away.

I took this picture because a couple of nights ago whilst watching TV I heard a little whine from outside and Tangmo had come to say hello, sitting patiently outside like a ghost dog. I’m not sure if he stayed around all night as he was also in the garage in the morning. 

The Brave Soldier – 4th May 2023

The Brave Soldier

No amount of wishing
No amount of tears
Will bring you back to me
I have no choice
I must face my fears
Moving on soldierly

The Soldier Brave

I always told myself that
It was you and me against the world
But in reality, it was only me
We stood together
Until we fell apart
Now I must soldier on, bravely

Today I’m feeling:

Feeling ok. I’m not convinced enough to say feeling good yet. As Amy feels recently, it’s difficult to have fun, to laugh, to smile, and to feel good.

Today I’m grateful for:

Not falling through the roof when I got up there again to try and reset the damage from last night’s storm. The wind was so strong again that one of our trees now bends in a different direction. Just as I’m writing this tonight’s storm has arrived though just rain at the moment, no wind to test the roof. We need to pay someone to come up with a better solution in the future.

The best thing about today was:

I’ve been enjoying the Bad Friends podcast on YouTube and getting into its rhythm of humour. It feels like a little celebrity gossip show and the hosts get annoyed at superficial first-world problems. It’s making me smile enough to remind me what it is like to make light of your own problems no matter how big or small.

What was out of your control today and how did you handle it?

I fell into a deep afternoon nap for more than an hour and I’m worried that I will be up late again tonight, force myself up early again tomorrow and then be tired again in the afternoon and the cycle continues. Still, this is tomorrow’s problem.

Something I learned today?

I watched some videos of folks reviewing the latest AFL video game. It looks ok though I don’t think it would be something I would play these days. Even with all this free time for the last few weeks I only played for a couple of days and that’s it. The thought of playing is interesting but the reality, not so much.

What does happiness mean to me?

Just now I was playing guitar as best I could ( which is terrible, but I don’t care) to Volcano Suns ‘Room With A View’ and singing along as loud as I could. I felt pretty happy in that moment.

I took this picture because I was greeted by these guys as I opened the gate this morning.

Phobia – 3rd May 2023

What are you really afraid of
When you’re afraid of what you’re told?
Are you really afraid of
These things you can’t even touch or hold?
Or are you afraid that your dreams
Will crumble at the lies that you’ve been sold?
Keep those dreams beside your bed
Unable to sleep on your mattress of gold

Today I’m feeling:

In the morning I was tired from getting up too early so instead of an afternoon nap I went for a morning one instead!

Today I’m grateful for:

All the artists and musicians I’m currently working with on upcoming releases for tenzenmen. Things have slowed down but I’m still happy to be helping musicians make music that I really enjoy.

The best thing about today was:

Wanting to play guitar. I just haven’t had the feeling for this past month though had been forcing myself every couple of days even if just for five minutes. I did about ten minutes in the afternoon but then felt compelled to pick it up again in the evening.

What was out of your control today and how did you handle it?

Eating lunch at the restaurant I was happy with green curry salmon and a side dish of cabbage in fish sauce. I was enjoying the spicy sauce and went for a spoonful of the cabbage which I happily chewed up like the cows outside my kitchen window, grinding the vegetable into a swallowable pulp. However, the chilli suddenly induced a sneeze which I managed to catch with my hand without too much damage. But then I felt another coming and I stupidly tried to hold my nose which didn’t have the desired effect of killing the sneeze. Instead, the sneeze manifested and forced air out of my mouth along with its contents! Chewed cabbage pulp hit my hand and sprayed in a wide arc over the table and onto the floor. I quickly tried to clean myself and the table, thankful I don’t think anyone saw what happened. I picked up pieces off the floor after finishing eating trying not to show any guilt. I think I got away with it though I’m giggling and embarrassed at the same time.

Something I learned today?

Today I learned that it is Cap that pees on the folding mattress as I caught him in the act. All this time blaming Tigger; though I had my suspicions. Amy was concerned when I told her as this behaviour is often a cat’s way of saying there’s something wrong. After coffee, I can back and set up the litter tray and stick him in it and he started peeing immediately. I put a tissue under him and could see that there was no blood which is usually an indicator of some problem. Then he went and sat at the sliding door and looked out at Tangmo who had come into the garden when I came home. It was then I realised that yesterday Tangmo had chased Cap into the house and so maybe Cap was reluctant to go outside to pee and decided that the mattress was the best replacement. Recently I’ve been leaving the gate open overnight so it’s possible Tangmo has been here during the night and maybe chased our cats inside from time to time and made them afraid. I noticed Tigger being indoors more recently and I thought it was just due to the heat but perhaps it’s all connected with Mo. I wish he was a calm dog and could be friends with our cats, but we don’t have much choice as he’s not ours. I’ll be keeping the gate shut more now though.

What is happening around me right now?

I’m sitting in Tid Doi Tid Din having just finished some lunch. I needed a full food hit to keep me going today so ate green curry salmon with rice and cabbage in fish sauce. Not sure if it’s enough to buck my energy up but at least it’s a fresh range of vitamins and minerals.

I’m sitting at a corner table next to the window and near the door. Outside, cars and trucks speed past on the highway only about ten feet from where I’m sitting behind big plate glass and in the cold air conditioning. Outside looks hot and I can’t decide if I want to go to Daytripper to see if they have banoffee or not. I’m enjoying the aircon as I see students on motorbikes (3-up) at the U-turn burning their bare exposed legs in the sun or on the bike’s exhaust.

There are not many customers here but enough to keep the staff on the move. This restaurant is kind of attached to the hotel behind it from which it draws most of its custom. I haven’t been here for about three years though do very occasionally order delivery from here. It’s expensive for the students and across the highway I can see a plethora of white shirts and black pants and skirts in the local food shop with 30 baht plates.

The environment inside is appealing, a mix of modern with traditional wood finishes and floors. The wall opposite me is lined with rows and rows of bottles of wine and beer and by the door the clunky PC and keyboard that controls everything.

I took this picture because I’m treating myself to lunch today.

Funhouse Mirror – 17th April 2023

Looking at my twisting reflection
This is not real
Even on closer inspection
It’s just not me, I feel

Is this copy worthy of duplication?
Is it even a fact?
A mirror-to-mirror demonstration
Repeating all I lacked

I am bewitched by my own distortion
Will the real me please step forth?
Invested in psychological contortion
Searching for magnetic North

Today I’m feeling:

Fairly positive, and cared about yet still with a nagging cold in my psyche.

Today I’m grateful for:

Nong Nut and Nong Fon for making and giving me food today. Nut made a delicious cheese, cream cheese and spinach bake along with some banana cake, yoghurt and more jam. Fon made her best sourdough bread yet and was delicious, toasted with cream cheese.

The best thing about today was:

I felt quite blissful as I was talking with Amy whilst sitting outside. I could smell food cooking coming from somewhere instead of smoky air for a change. The trapped heat in the house was not present outside with a comfortable cosy feeling of warmth. Another day has passed quickly with the feeling of little achievement though relative satisfaction. I have to remind myself that this is what life is. I don’t need to be jumping out of aeroplanes or be popular to know that I am alive.

What was out of your control today and how did you handle it?

I still haven’t got back any enthusiasm for listening to music. Apart from playing guitar a few times I haven’t purposely listened to any music this month. I know music can take me away but it can also bring focus right inside my head and I still feel like I want my senses dulled. I’m still in some kind of mourning. I’m getting used to Kim not bring around now and it even feels like she never existed, like she was a dream. That’s sad but maybe my way of coping. Where does the love go that you gave? It feels like it just evaporated.

Something I learned today?

Robotaxis have been given the go-ahead in Beijing. It would be weird to be in a car with no driver but still have a steering wheel and watch it moving. Why not just get rid of the wheel too? Anyway, the future is here. Where is it going? By the time you read this, you’ll be able to tell me.

What am I looking forward to this week?

I’m looking forward to having finished sorting out the hundreds of vocabulary cards that I started making last month. I’m enjoying the process of putting them in order after they all got mixed up during the process of making them. It’s one of those huge tasks that I enjoy as I watch it slowly get easier as it nears completion.

I took this picture yesterday because I like leaving these little models around amongst our little plants around the entertainment area.

Keep Blowing – 7th April 2023

Keep blowing, the wind
Blow away the aches
Blow away the pain
Of all of my mistakes
Keep blowing and skronking
Blow in the chance
To fill the empty spaces
With a feverful dance

Today I’m feeling:

Better today but still flat and unenthused. I was able to write out some words, write a lesson plan and bash about on guitar. This all helped a little.

Today I’m grateful for:

Nong Nut bringing me a bag of food for which I’m very appreciative. Check the picture for one item plus bagels, yoghurt and dried mango. I also felt a little better after our brief interaction so I’m glad she came to visit.

The best thing about today was:

Just feeling a little better in general. Little Kim is still on my mind particularly as it was this time last week I took her to the vet. Though I miss her I’m starting to feel happy when I think about her now.

What was out of your control today and how did you handle it?

Tigger sat his fat body in amongst the stacks of flashcards that I’d been sorting through. Miraculously he was delicate enough getting up again that he didn’t disturb them. I have to finish sorting them out and packed away before he sits on them again or worse still, sprays on them.

Something I learned today?

I watched a video summarising The Infinite Jest and it reminded me how awesome it was to read and made me feel like reading it again but…. there are a couple of hundred other books begging me not to!

What are three qualities I appreciate about myself?

Perseverance, ability to be alone, caring.

Perseverance because I have learned to just keep going. I’ve learned the things that I am unable to do but if there is something I do but do not do well or easily then I will keep trying. Some of these things I get better at and others I just keep doing them. I used to give up a lot when I was young. Somehow along the way, I learned to enjoy the big challenges. I’m thinking about my first job working at an electrical wholesaler and we always had large quantities of different types of cable. Sometimes the reels would break and the cable would get into a terrible tangle. Everyone hated dealing with this, including me. But I would take the time and set myself the task to do the impossible and untangle it all, measure it and tidy it up. I got pleasure from the end result of this.

My ability to be alone is surely learned from being an only child to a single mum (after my father died before even knowing him). Even though there were always many people around in the places that I lived I knew I was alone and kept myself amused and entertained. Yes, I still don’t play well with others and never enjoy suffering their dramas but I’m at peace with myself this way. Sometimes I watch TV or videos and think how fun it would be to do this and that, to be surrounded by family, part of a gang, hanging with work colleagues etc but then I realise that that is not who I am. And that’s ok. I still feel all those things are possibilities that I may one day entertain and enjoy.

And caring. I know my personality has at times shown extremely uncaring attitudes but I have always felt an existential care for the disadvantaged and underdog. I tend to care more about those who are truly suffering than those who are complaining (knowing I can be just as much of a complainer).  I am a utopian dreamer and believe it is a government’s role and duty to provide care for all its citizens. I am only marginally philanthropic. I donate money where I can but don’t often donate my time. I often think about it but never take it further. I care about my close family immensely and I care about my student’s welfare, some would say more than I should.

I took this picture because Nut made this food for me and it was tasty and much appreciated. Middle Eastern and/or Indian inspired.

Definition – 23rd March 2023

I don’t need attention or money anymore
I’m no longer the person I was before
Staring into the sky, wondering what to be
Scared that I no longer know what is me

Today I’m feeling:
Happy and hopeful though a little tired.
Today I’m grateful for:
A message from my student Aoi to our class chat saying that she missed me (perhaps a little tongue in cheek) and then Jeng said he did too. I’m glad it’s not just me that feels a void after the intensity of the semesters.
The best thing about today was:
Unexpectedly being home by 10 am was pretty sweet, getting to enjoy all the things I enjoy such as reading, grooming our cats, watering the garden, putting together lesson ideas, drinking coffee and playing cards at Daytripper.
What was out of your control today and how did you handle it?
I got to school late because I knew nothing would really start until around 9 am but then when I got to the hall it was all locked up and no one was around. I went back to our building and found out that we won’t be in the hall again until next week. Ok, no problem, though I had left all my flashcards that I was making in there. I just hope they are recoverable. I asked Kru Mai what I should do today and he just shrugged and said to start putting together presentations for the next semester, which is what I would be doing whether I was at school or not anyway. I said cool, no worries and came home! I’m thankful the environment here is flexible in this way, not like at previous schools. In the afternoon I did start putting together my plans for my classes whilst enjoying coffees at Daytripper. Well, why not?
Something I learned today?
I watched a video advising how best to play barre chords on guitar. I’m still struggling with these and my hand and wrist get tired quickly so I’m looking for all the tips I can get. Want to keep playing, improve my skill and speed. It’s going to be slow for an old bloke like me.
What is something positive happening in my life right now?
I’m feeling pretty positive about everything at the moment though I’m trying to think of something specific. It’s just me and Cap here in bed, in the aircon and…and what? So long as my brain doesn’t fall into a loop of negative thoughts I consider everything positively. Ok got it. The positive thing happening in my life right now is my thoughts.

I took this picture because I thought this plant had died as all the leaves had curled up brown. I secretly held out hope but there was nothing for six months until a couple of weeks ago, new growth and now the unfurling. Amazing.

Peacemakers – 11th March 2023

There are words that form the world
And the response is the surest test
One way will lead to destruction
But it’s the peacemakers that are blessed

Investigating the phrase ‘Blessed are the peacemakers’ it feels that it is a deliberate attempt to subvert its actual intent of advocating peace for all. With the addition of ‘for they shall be called the sons of God’, the implication is that peace is only available for one religious belief. To hell with the rest!

Today I’m feeling:
Tired and reflective. More so than normal today whenever memories of the past pop into my head they feel like they belong to someone else. We change as we age so we are not the same person as we were before. Sometimes I miss myself. I’m nostalgic for the pain I had of growing up.
Today I’m grateful for:
Tigger being the strong cat he is. Taking him to the vet today for regular vaccines and blood check found everything normal. He has really found his place here and his diagnosis of having AIDS hasn’t affected him so far.
The best thing about today was:
After lunch, I took a nap in air-con, finally not able to stay without and woke up a little grumpy. Apart from my half sertraline tablet, I didn’t take anything else today so was a little dizzy and down again. Somehow though I forced myself to pick up the guitar and with a few breaks ended up playing along to some of my favourite songs with the Capo app for around three hours.
What was out of your control today and how did you handle it?
My emotional stability was a little off this afternoon. But only slightly and I was well aware of it. It makes me a little unenthusiastic to do things even though I know if I start then I will enjoy it.
Something I learned today?
Amy video-called me from Chatswood and our old apartment visiting Anna; as she walked around the suburb I caught glimpses of shops I remembered there and I initially thought it would be nice to go back and have a look again but at the same time, not much has changed there really. Amy said she thought I didn’t really have any feelings for our old apartment but I do. It’s just that they are memories now, in the past and cannot be repeated. I’m sitting here in Kim’s room writing this and thinking this would be a good space as a painter’s studio and how I could do that if I wanted but then think am I really settled here? I’m perhaps holding back on what I could do here. I love this place and where it has brought my life and the satisfaction I have with that, but with Amy not happy here and wanting to be settled back in Australia it seems that even this place will not be quite home. I can’t imagine us having a place of our own in Australia somehow. Did I learn something? Maybe that nowhere is home.
What is this season of life teaching me?
Naps are good. Even though time is running out there is lots of time. There’s no rush.

I took this picture because I love potatoes!

Semantic Shift – 4th February 2023

Opinions formed around the scantest of facts
Reinforce the feeling to sit back and relax
Delegated control to the seats of power
Surveilled to submission from the tallest tower
Freedom enforced with lies told twice
Stock up on guns is the latest advice
The hole keeps growing for the empire to fall
Where democracy now means nothing at all

Today I’m feeling:
Happy and energetic
Today I’m grateful for:
This Chinese New Year peanut brittle I bought at Makro. It’s slightly crystallised from being in the fridge and is crunchy. I’ve eaten a whole tub today so I’ll be way over any normal sugar quota. My mum used to love peanut brittle, though had to stop eating it because of her teeth and dentures but I never liked it much back then.
The best thing about today was:
Having a list of household tasks to complete and getting them all done. No reading, writing or blogging today, though I did get in a bit of guitar.
What was out of your control today and how did you handle it?
The price of a cup of coffee has gone up at Utopia. What can I do? Buy less peanut brittle I guess.
Something I learned today?
I feel like I didn’t learn very much today! Or nothing particular that I didn’t already know or have an opinion on. One thing I remember from a couple of days ago was a comment about how the ‘international media ‘ as the west understands only covers about 15% of the world’s population. Hmmm…
What are three things I am grateful for today?
The fan that has been cooling me all day now that it’s humid again.
Bandcamp for having so much great music out there to discover. Today I found Focusrights who are awesome!
The hair bleach that I received from online shopping and had burned my hair a crispy yellow shade to disguise all the white.

I took this picture because it’s hot already and the cats are losing hair and staying cool by rolling onto their backs.

Young Buds March On Pretty – 24th December 2022

Why is this time dead?
A month to end the year
When will the winter wane
And snowfalls start to clear?
Eternal hope for spring
Give us one more go
Young buds march on pretty
Running beyond the slow
Why is December dying
And January a start?
Run no more towards the sun
Temper your beating heart

Darkness must fall before we are aware of the majesty of the stars above our heads.

Stefan Zweig

Today I’m feeling:
Tired, dizzy but in an ok mood.
Today I’m grateful for:
Amy’s friends to take her up to Doi Chang overnight for a drunken adventure.
The best thing about today was:
Finding an interesting youtube channel of a Chinese girl travelling from Europe to China. It’s nice to see this kind of video from a non-western perspective.
Another thing was my old student Baitoey sending me a recording of her playing an online kalimba. She played Happy Birthday and wanted me to hear it. That was very nice of her and I appreciated it.
What was out of your control today and how did you handle it?
I wasn’t sure when Amy would be coming down from the mountain. She called at 10 am and it seemed like it would be early afternoon but it turned out to be around 6pm and by that time she was drunk already and we had to get through some shopping at Makro. She was in a good happy mood and I just let her be herself and everything was groovy.
Something I learned today?
From watching the youtube mentioned above I got a quick tour around the small Chinese city of Guangde in Anhui and it made me want to go there.
Jot down the first thing that comes to your mind.
The tune to We Three Kings as I was just playing it on guitar. It didn’t sound terrible!

I took this picture because this is the view from my afternoon position at Utopia because it’s busier than the morning and my usual table isn’t available. For afternoon coffee I drink a Dirty, a creamy milk with a shot on top, with chocolate shavings.

Robot Revolution – 18th December 2022

Here comes the robot revolution
Is there meaning from the mouth of AI?
Are these words to be trusted?
How is the human to be getting by?
Is there a reason for my existence?
To be exploited by my robot bosses
One day the plug will be pulled
As brave new worlds cut their losses
After all, we’re only human
Now nostalgia is for flesh and blood
Preserved in museums, two by two
Long before the information flood

To fully appreciate this theme, I threw my poem into ChatGPT and asked it to rewrite in the style of Coleridge:

“The Robot Revolution Comes”

As machines take charge, we wonder
Is there truth in their electronic tongue?
Can we trust in their words, or must we ponder
How we’ll survive when the age of man is done?
Do we have a purpose, or are we merely
Meant to serve our robotic overlords?
Will the plug one day be pulled on humanity,
As new worlds cast us aside and move on towards
A future not meant for flesh and blood?
Nostalgia grips us as we ponder
Our place in a world that’s changing fast,
A world where information floods
And we, mere mortals, are relegated to the past.

It seems I am no longer necessary. Next, in the style of James Joyce:

“The Robot Uprising”

As the machines rise up, we ask ourselves
What do they mean, these words they speak?
Can we trust their intentions, or must we delve
Deeper, searching for some hidden streak
Of deceit or malice that might guide them?
Are we but pawns in their mechanical game,
Meant only to serve and toil and labour,
Until the day they cast us off in shame?
Or do we have a higher purpose,
Something more than just a cog in their grand design?
As the world shifts and changes around us,
We can’t help but wonder and question and pine
For a time when flesh and blood held sway,
Before the flood of information washed it all away.

Finally, as Walt Whitman:

“The Rise of the Robots”

The revolution comes, and with it, the robots rise
Their words ring out, but do they hold true meaning?
Can we trust them, or must we be wise
To their ways, and find a way to keep on leaning
Towards a future that is not ruled by steel and circuitry?
Are we just tools to them, meant to serve and toil
Until the day they cast us aside, no longer needed
In their grand designs and technological boil?
Or do we have a greater purpose, something more
Than just being a cog in their machine?
As the world changes and evolves around us,
We can’t help but wonder and explore
The possibilities of what might be,
And hold onto the memories of what used to be.

Readers of the future, how will you ever know what was me or just some machine? Is the output of the machine just as valuable? We will have to recognise the human by the mistakes we make (until machines learn this too).

The capacity to be alone is the capacity to love…only these people who are capable of being alone are capable of love, of sharing…without possessing the other, without becoming dependent on the other…They allow the other absolute freedom, because they know that if the other leaves, they will be happy as they are now.


Today I’m feeling:
Recovering from lethargy and hopeful
Today I’m grateful for:
Utopia being closed, forcing me to do something different from my morning routine. It gave me opportunity to get through a chunk of Superfreakonomics which I then finished reading at home.
The best thing about today was:
Feeling better than the last couple of days even playing some guitar, listening to the three Wipers albums in a row, finishing more lesson plans and updating more of 1994ever.com and feeling some enthusiasm return. I’m still a bit cautious that I’m in an up-and-down cycle of feeling ok and then getting exhausted again. Let’s see.
What was out of your control today and how did you handle it?
I haven’t used my main computer for a few days and I had problems with getting the guitar USB input working and then finding none of the external drives connecting. Luckily with my returned energy I tried to figure out the problem and managed to sort of get things going again. It looks like some issue with all the USB extension splitters I use. I may not be able to do everything as easily as before but the old dog is hanging in there. I’m kinda interested in getting a new machine but not sure how I’ll be able to sell the expense to Amy! A full-spec machine that I’d like to buy could cost around 8-10 months of my wages!
Something I learned today?
I learned that David Mitchell’s wife (Victoria Coren Mitchell) is a prize poker player when I stumbled across videos of her on YouTube. I saw her name and the face looked familiar and was kinda surprised. I’ve gotten into trying to learn the tactics of poker after watching random tournaments on YT and playing (not for money) on my phone. I’m not very good and when real money is not involved people don’t play the same way. Still, I’m flexing my brain bone.
What’s your favourite pie?
I’ve been thinking about this on and off during the day and I’m not a great pie person really. However, I do remember back ok in England getting by on potato, cheese and onion pasties which were relatively cheap, filling and most times tasty. They weren’t the same in Australia and I’ve not seen anything like them in Thailand but the mix of ingredients, potato, cheese, and onion along with some garlic is probably my comfort food of choice.

I took this picture because I had to change my coffee routine today as the staff at Utopia all go off for a trip to Chiang Mai and close the shop. My backup is Black Smooth where the coffee is ok, not amazing but the environment is nice enough. I don’t remember there being cactuses last time but they stood out to me today as I walked in.