Idle Idol – 27th April 2023

He’s a girl and she’s a boy
Both of them a producers toy
Under makeup and bright lights
The manufactured product fights
A name that is soon forgotten
A past that’s found to be rotten
Fans are either for or against
It’s impossible to sit on the fence
If there are brains behind the mask
Showing it may be too much to ask
Flooded with undeserved affection
Failing to pass closer inspection
So idols get what they deserve
A fame that is unable to preserve
And so idle under adulation
Until another steps up to the station

Today I’m feeling:

Ok. My neck is super sore from not moving it much for a month. I did a mini warm-up this morning and will try to make it a little longer each day to prepare for my usual wake-up routine. I know this makes me feel better but just can’t motivate myself during the holiday.

Today I’m grateful for:

Finding salad today at the walking market. It was pretty good though a little different to the one I usually get. For some reason, I’ve been wanting for salad recently. I think my normal seller may have given up because it’s been so long since I’ve seen them. Business is tough out there and everyone is trying to make their baht.

The best thing about today was:

Cap has spent most of the day with me and I’ve been grooming him and cutting his dreadlocks. His hair feels gorgeous again as does Tig’s, I think because of the special gel that we used to feed Kim to help counter her leukaemia.

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

I don’t feel there was anything today. If there was something I must have handled it without thinking and accepted it as reality.

Something I learned today?

I came across a video to help getting students to quiet down and concentrate in the classroom. I’m thinking I will try the Simon Says technique where I can bring the whole class back to focus by saying ‘Simon says stand up’ and the kids paying attention will do it and the kids that aren’t will want to know what’s going on. I also need to drill them with this in the first week so they get used to it. I hope I have better control this year. Over myself and the students.

What is my favourite photo of the past month?

With the bad air and the tragic start to this month, my mind focused a lot on pictures of Kim and they still make me sad to look at. But looking through the pictures I can see that there are still some nice ones there. Ones I will appreciate in time.

I took this picture because I took a few detours on the way home from Utopia and fresh growth smells were returning to perfume the air. But this picture shows the devastation across the mountains from fire. I don’t think these would have been burned deliberately but more likely from other small fires getting out of control.

Misery Comedy – 18th April 2023

Not like Beckett, not absurd
It’s just as English as the word
The saddest laugh I ever heard

Rolling laughs don’t come from rolling hills
No pearly whites penetrate the mills
More bitter than the bitterest pills

And only laughing when it hurts
The summer wine no longer works
Born amongst the miserable jerks

There was a time when some British comedy TV became too dour even for me. Last of the Summer Wine and Only When I Laugh are referenced and remain memorable for their misery! I was self-aware enough to realise that watching these shows made me unhappy. I just wanted to laugh at something funny, not at something sideways.

Today I’m feeling:

Tired and useless. The grey of the sky is getting me down. It’s not like the grey of a cloudy sky. That sky moves and promises. This sky is dead. I woke up tired and have napped twice since. Everything feels pointless. No inspiration. No movement.

Today I’m grateful for:

My memories of Murray and myself philosophizing with our teenage imaginations at the bottom of the school field. We looked up at the sky and stars and had no idea how inconsequential we are.

The best thing about today was:

Finishing reading Death’s End. What an awesome book with big crazy ideas. Onto some lighter reading next with Michael Parkinson’s biography.

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

My positivity has fallen down today mainly due to tiredness I believe. My PMT or low point of my circadian rhythm.  Perhaps I napped my way out of it.

Something I learned today?

I read today that China has offered to mediate between Palestine and Israel in a search for peace in the Middle East. It’s difficult to imagine that it might work but if both sides can see the benefits of increased prosperity perhaps there’s a chance?

What place holds special meaning to me?

There are too many to mention. Today I feel like I am not living my life. My memory feels like a story I watched on TV rather than events that actually happened to me. The places in my memory are still there yet the actual places are not. They exist but are not the same. Sometimes it’s better for a memory to be repaved over with concrete.

I took this picture because as I was riding home from Utopia the mountains were more visible than in recent days and it can be seen how dry the jungle has become out there. The cows and bulls offered a perfect foreground.

The Slip – 20th December 2022

Between one form of consciousness
And another
Hold no fear for this deathlike sensation
Meditate on it, let it inspire
See it for what it is
Explore it with your full imagination

*inspired by Robert Greene’s Daily Laws

The whole world is a series of miracles, but we’re so used to them we call them ordinary things.

Hans Christian Andersen

Today I’m feeling:
Happy and relaxed
Today I’m grateful for:
Working at a stall where Christmas party gifts were available to students and I could swipe extra swag and be a little Santa myself and deliver candy to students of mine that I came across.
The best thing about today was:
A pleasant relaxing drive up to Doi Mae Salong, this time, finally, with Amy. It’s a good time of year temperature wise but with rainy season a memory, the views were quite obscured with smoke. Still, we got some nice pictures of the temple up around the back of the town, which our little car struggled to get to but I had faith.
What was out of your control today and how did you handle it?
With the Christmas party at school today I was suddenly asked yesterday to help at one of the stalls. I was hoping to be able to quickly leave and go and chill with coffee before heading home early but that became unlikely. So, I kept a good attitude and had a lot of fun with all the kids. Time went quickly and I enjoyed it so much that it was easy to transition into driving up into the mountains rather than complaining to stay home and relax.
Something I learned today?
Today feels like only a minor software update. I’ve been trying to think for the last 15 minutes but struggling to find anything new that I learned, just additional pieces of information to add to existing knowledge. I guess through listening to the Oh Brother podcast I did learn some early 80s Manchester punk scene trivia. It’s probably not life-changing at my age.
Who are your favourite artists?
Musicians and comic book artists are numerous. When it comes to traditional painting art though I really don’t know anything. I do recognise paintings that attract me but never enough to identify with a specific artist. I think I don’t hold painting in the same regard as music and comics. It doesn’t take me on a journey and my thinking is not skilled or deep enough to contemplate.

I took this picture because I didn’t recognise my student Noah, on the left, with this wig and dress. I also haven’t seen her face for a long time as she usually wears a mask. At the school today was a Christmas Party in the morning with performances and stalls and many of the kids, even those not performing, decided to dress up. The girls particularly look different and try to show themselves off. I’m happy their school uniforms are frumpy and unsexy!

Dig In – 27th November 2022

The roots have grown
The longer you stay
The harder it is to leave

Now time has shown
That along the way
You’ve found what you believe

The comfort of the rich depends upon an abundant supply of the poor.


Today I’m feeling:
Relaxed and lazy
Today I’m grateful for:
The fisherman who caught the prawns I ate, somewhere far away. Shipped them to shore, then the factory workers who prepared them and packaged them and the drivers who delivered them.
The best thing about today was:
Enjoying ice cream and snacks after a weed gummy. It’s hard to stop eating!
What was out of your control today and how did you handle it?
I could tell Amy was getting a little irritable around lunch time so I just laughed and joked a little and not getting sucked into an argument over nothing. She quickly lightened up and everything was normal again. These situations can quickly go out of control when I don’t handle them well.
In what ways have you observed balance in nature or in the universe?
Looking at mountains, staring at the sea. I see balance in nature when there are no humans around and I become a ghost, an observer but only as a memory. Looking up at the stars and the moon, being grateful for this very specific role I have been given.

I took this picture because Jet made this nice drawing of me and my nice shirt! This picture is a throwback to a couple of weeks ago. No pictures again today!

Sure – 24th October 2022

Why does what you believe make you so mad?
If something else was true would it really be so bad?
So angry at the skies you take it out on the clouds
So oblivious to yourself as you fight amongst the crowds
Was it something that you lost that others took away?
Did someone take their ball so that you couldn’t play?
Divided we are conquered, that’s the way it’s been
Let’s celebrate our diversity to realise our dream

When looking back at your life, you will see that the moments which seemed to be great failures followed by wreckage were the incidents that shaped the life you have now.

Joseph Campbell

Today I’m feeling:
Dozy and happy
Today I’m grateful for:
The coconut lip balm I have. I think I’m missing something in my diet that is causing me dry lips and this balm works wonders.
The best thing about today was:
The brilliant 4-hour afternoon nap I had. It was a light sleep and could feel myself enjoying it! Sounds played on my thoughts and influenced my semi-lucid state. I didn’t want it to end!
If you could be a character from a book or film, who would you be? Why?
This answer would change over time. I identify a lot with Dostoevsky’s Underground Man but that is a me from the past. I recognise the thoughts but no longer think like that. Me, now? I don’t know. Alice? As I often contemplate the wonder in the world around me.
…I realise I’m reading the question wrong. If I could be a character…. I suppose when reading a good book or watching a great movie you become the characters in them. If I could choose though…? I’m struggling to think of an answer. I think it may pop into my head when I come across it in the future. Perhaps I’ll return to this question then.

I took this picture because this is the valley I live in. My house is near the mountains there on the horizon to the right. Behind me are mountains on the other side of the valley, a similar distance away. Zooming in you can see three levels of mountains with smaller valleys in between, places where I’ve ridden my bike around many times. Now I’m enjoying the discovery of the big wide valley. It’s beautiful and I’m lucky and grateful and can’t believe I’ve ended up here.

Derelict – 18th October 2022

Smashed windows and roof decayed
A place where memories were once made
Now hidden to the exploring eye
Possibilities came here now gone by
One day the love in my own home
Will be left to explorers unknown
Pondered upon with little idea
Of all the things that happened here
The tiles will crack and ceilings fall
Jungle vines will creep up the wall
The once-pretty garden overrun
Plastic disintegrates in the sun
The roaming ghosts of our happy cats
No longer worry the scurrying rats
Body broken as the irons rust
Will all be blown away as dust

I think perfection is ugly. Somewhere in the things humans make, I want to see scars, failure, disorcer, distortion.

Yohji Yamamoto

Today I’m feeling:
Chill chill
Today I’m grateful for:
A long catch-up sleep with interesting but forgotten dreams. I also woke up with no pain in my neck but that didn’t last for too long.
The best thing about today was:
Its simplicity and feeling contented with a day of non-excitement. A little bit of this and that counters any possibility of boredom. I feel free!
In what ways are you “just like your parents?”
I am just like my mum now. It’s scary how much I look like her. Right now I live by myself (practically) and love to read books, much like she did. I don’t need to be around people often and happy in my own company, just as I saw her. I don’t think I can be much like my dad as I have no idea if he had any influence over me in my first 18 months before he died. I wonder though if there was a residual sadness that brushed on me in that short time…?

I took this picture because it just looked idyllic as I was speeding by and had to turn back to take a quick picture. This one is from yesterday. I didn’t really do anything today.

Frank’s Dream – 4th October 2022

When Frank died his soul flew up high
And ended up in a powerful war machine
He screamed ‘ANNIHILATE’ but didn’t know why
But then it turned out it was all just a dream

Inspired by Armoured Gideon, 2000AD

It is an illusion that youth is happy, an illusion of those who have lost it; but the young know they are wretched for they are all full of the truthless ideal which has been instilled into them, and each time they come into contact with the real, they are bruised and wounded.

W. Somerset Maugham

Today I’m feeling:
Happy and satisfied.
Today I’m grateful for:
The front wheel of my motorbike. It took some hard knocks on some tough roads today and I was worried I would have to limp down the mountain with a flat tyre but it held up and got me home.
The best thing about today was:
Riding around new mountains and discovering some beautiful villages and amazing scenery. It was blissful.

What daily habit do you do that improves your quality of life?
For 24 years now I’ve been taking sertraline and that has made an incredible difference to my life, keeping me stable and less prone to depression. I still have bad moments but in general, I am much happier than a was in my first 30 years.
Brushing my teeth. Sad to say that I didn’t look after my teeth well for my first 20 years or so. They are just hanging on since starting to care about them more.
Making my bed. A small habit I only acted on since moving to Thailand. I actually don’t care if my bed is made or not but I do it so as to include it in a series of morning habits and to feel, no matter how minor, to have achieved something already, right at the beginning of the day.
Exercise….if I do it every day it will definitely improve my quality of life. Now I just have to do it every day!

I took this picture because Bruno and I met these kids after a long muddy ride and they were so happy and inquisitive to see two muddy white men in their mountain school at the end of the road.

Roundhouse – 24th September 2022

This is the house that time built
The 60s are just through the door
Another world, another lifetime
What were the billions gone all living for?
This is the house that time built
Educated to a level capability
Flexing muscles of hidden thoughts
Exercising a great mental agility
This is the house that time built
Once glorious yet now decrepit
All shall one day return to earth
No matter how amazingly intrepid

Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell.

Edward Abbey

Today I’m feeling:
Today I’m grateful for:
The chef at the shop next to Utopia for preparing me a delicious lunch to my requirements with yummy fresh tofu and crispy noodles to make lard na.
The best thing about today was:
Getting so many little things done but in a relaxing manner. Sometimes I struggle with motivation but today I managed to push through without feeling like I was forcing it.

I took this picture because I was walking home from Utopia and thinking about how to make an interesting picture. The three contrasting colours of yellow, green and blue along with the lines as seen from the ground level give this picture a more complex feel. I thought about straightening the picture but kind of like that it is a little off.

Brand New Day – 17th September 2022

Are you awake to the stirrings of the earth?
A bright day is born every morning
If you don’t give it the value that it is worth
The kingdoms will start to issue forth their warning
Save me now so you may save yourself
Sun is shining somewhere no matter what you say
The noose is getting tighter, not for anyone else
But they all wish to see the same brand-new day

You become what you give your attention to…If you yourself don’t choose what thoughts and images you expose yourself to, someone else will.


Today I’m grateful for:
Dasa Books having another sale. I picked up a couple that got delivered today.
The best thing about today was:
Riding around new villages and discovering new places and paths. There were also fresh smells to enjoy on the cold damp air.

I took this picture because, despite the dullness of the light, the green of the rice amongst the brown water against the mountains and cloudy sky stood out to me as a picture of a beautiful day.

Get Used To It – 11th September 2022

Get used to it, it’s not going to change
Settle on down til it’s no longer strange
Culture shock, not worth fighting against
It’s upsetting but not worth taking offence
Getting used to it, going along for the ride
Hiding in the open is the best place to hide
Running away or kicking against the pricks
Means never teaching this old dog new tricks

Suffering has been stronger than all other teaching, and has taught me to understand what your heart used to be. I have been bent and broken, but – I hope – into a better shape.

Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

Today I’m grateful for:
Receiving some comfortable new sandals that at least attempt to give me some arch support.
The best thing about today was:
Walking home from Utopia in the light drizzle. It was just the right rain not to get too wet and to keep the temperature down. The air felt supremely fresh and reinvigorating. I really enjoyed the walk.

I took this picture because the clouds amongst the mountains looked amazing and reminded me of windswept moors of England.