I Like To Move It – 7th March 2023

Our minds never stopped moving
When difficult roads need smoothing
What does not move is dead
Is what the greatest thinkers said
Let’s move ourselves to improving

inspired by Robert Greene’s Daily Laws and quoting Aristotle

Today I’m feeling:
Strangely filled with love and goodness. I was happy to wake up and exercise, feed our cats and whilst driving to work listen to a podcast about the Clash’s Sandinista album which reminded me how much I like that record. Then I bumped into Paul at school who had just had a heart operation last week and was back at school already and though he looks about 60 he’s actually younger than me. I met a few students and we made each other laugh, before getting in the car to go for coffee and listening to the Bangkok Podcast about an Englishman who went across land from the UK to Thailand via lots of other places. Everything this morning just seemed interesting and worth knowing. I want to feel like this more.
Today I’m grateful for:
My little MacBook Air that I was able to quickly install Yousician and Capo so that I could bash around on the guitar again. My iMac won’t even get to a login screen at the moment. I live in the vain hope of it starting again after a few days rest. But I fear machines are not humans.
The best thing about today was:
Getting a few lessons organised for next semester whilst sitting in the classroom with the few kids who came to sit there. They amused themselves with the usual things on their phones but I was happy to see one group of four who asked me to move as they were making a movie. It was enjoyable to watch them at acting especially when I asked them to do it in English and they made fun, imitating me, acting like I do in class.
I also had another really enjoyable talk with Hayden that made me think about going to visit him perhaps in April next year. He seems to be finding his feet in the world. Slowly we all work ourselves out.
What was out of your control today and how did you handle it?
There was no yoghurt at Makro! Oh no, disaster. My mind swirled around, what if they never get it again? I’ll have to change my diet. Well, let’s see. I dropped into Big C and got a couple of medium-sized pots but they may only last a couple of days. Yoghurt with muesli is a super easy and fast breakfast for me though. I hope Makro gets it back in stock again.
Something I learned today?
Whilst reading Affluenza, it suggests analysing your childhood deeply to understand more about your behaviour when it comes to wanting things. This made me think that I don’t really think I have finished my childhood yet! Perhaps what I’ve been doing these last few years has been my own self-analysis and along the way I have ‘cured’ myself a lot of wanting bigger, better and more. Though I do find myself contemplating buying a nice new computer. As the book suggests though, I have to ask myself ‘do I really need it?’ My old computer has served me well for these last 10 years and I look at buying another to last me that long too. In it’s time it has allowed me to explore many different things with it’s advanced capabilities. Perhaps now though I am more settled on what I want my computer to be able to do so I don’t necessarily need something that is so overpowered and costly. Oh, anyway, I’ve switched topics here. The point is that I still feel like I’m in my childhood. I don’t have the sense of awe and wonder in the same way as a child but I think I do have the open mind to most facets of life and living. That could also be down to just being in the right place, mentally and physically, these days. I will keep working things out. It will be a shame to reach a point where I feel that everything is worked out, that may be the end of my childhood phase.
What decisions have I made recently that make me proud?
Today I decided that I won’t buy anymore ice cream from LungChom to eat with strawberries and yoghurt. It’s just too delicious but fattening! Even just writing this is making my mouth water and I’m considering changing my mind already! No! This is a decision that I will be proud of.

I took this picture because all baby animals are cute, whether human, bovine or something else; though perhaps unsure about fish.

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.

One Time Phenomenon – 4th January 2023

Unique DNA makes you
What you are
Primal inclinations
Forces within
Moved to action
Mind grows
A seed planted
One time phenomenon

Inspired and borrowed from The Daily Laws by Robert Greene

Today I’m feeling:
Tired but happy and satisfied.
Today I’m grateful for:
The pizza oven at Bruno and Nut’s for quickly baking delicious pizza for me, Amy, mum and dad. Nut had prepared the dough and ingredients and we made our own pizza toppings. Bruno enjoyed talking with Amy’s dad and got us all invited to their home for a Chinese New Year celebration in a few weeks time.
The best thing about today was:
Seeing Tangmo and his friend running, playing and rolling around on our lawn as I was eating breakfast. It made me smile, these stupid crazy dogs having fun at our house. Just a few seconds later they were gone and I saw them running up the street in the distance.
What was out of your control today and how did you handle it?
The way I structured my last class of the day meant many students could take advantage and do as little work as they wanted but they needed to be ready when they were called. As it was the end of the day some students were keen to leave early and eventually when I called the next student they weren’t there, even though the class wasn’t over. I was a little disappointed but not surprised anymore. I was able to get some useful work out of maybe 60% of them and that would have to be as good as it was going to get. I need to think about a better way to keep the ‘free’ students occupied whilst I’m busy with others. I’m still a work in progress myself. Always learning.
Something I learned today?
Nut had prepared an Akha herb that I’d never tried before. It looked a little like a mini-sized mint and tasted a little like rocket with a hint of something which I’m not quite sure of. It was nice to munch on and add to the top of the pizza.
List three of your “greatest hits” from last year.
Greatest hits….? Hmm… In fact, a quick reflection doesn’t seem to generate any greatest hits particularly and I think that is a better place to be in. Having hits or highs would also mean having lows and I’d much prefer not to have those these days. But at a push…

  1. Riding around the rice fields behind the airport was nice, especially at golden hour. I did a few trips there during the October holiday and really felt serene.
  2. Another bike ride around the same time of year, this time with Bruno and across many mountains to the Burmese border and hanging out at a country school there.
  3. Meeting, befriending and watching my new groups of students. Seeing them learn and grow even a little was very rewarding.
I took this picture because Fon brought her handmade cookies last night but I only saw them today. This is a great one of me from a picture taken just a couple of days ago. I bet I taste good too.

Recognition Of Reality – 22nd December 2022

Am I sitting down yet?
Are my feet touching the floor?
No recognition of reality
Is it worth existing anymore
Am I breathing air?
Is blood pumping through my veins?
No recognition of a life itself
No usefulness remains

*inspired by a story from Seneca

You determine the quality of your mind by the nature of your daily thoughts.

Robert Greene, Daily Laws

Today I’m feeling:
Happy but a little on edge
Today I’m grateful for:
Our air fryer which nicely cooked the Hainan ginger fake chicken I ate for dinner with rice and cucumber (to counter the hot chilli sauce dressing). Amy has made me 3 servings to freeze for when she has gone too. I suppose I could learn to use the fryer too but I just don’t bother cooking by myself.
The best thing about today was:
Undoubtedly, both my classes which I took a very relaxed attitude towards whilst still having the kids semi-engaged with activities. Even the kids that get annoyed with me did some work and seemed to enjoy what we were doing. Some days I love them all. Today was one of those days. Tomorrow should be too. One class making Christmas cards and another two just doing online quizzes and then it’s the weekend again (finally – last night I thought it would be Friday today until I realised it wouldn’t and felt the energy drain out of me!)
What was out of your control today and how did you handle it?
Amy is grumpy today, maybe PMT, so I’m trying to not bite at her and let it pass. I’m not always successful and she got angry when I misheard her about something and reacted badly. I let it blow over and apologised for misunderstanding and just tried to carry on as if nothing happened. I don’t think we’ll have good communication for the rest of the night, so let it lie and wake up tomorrow to a brand new sunny day, or at least we get to start again.
Something I learned today?
Hayden has Covid again. Hopefully, it’s not as bad as the first time and he recovers soon. I messaged Ellen too, who I haven’t been in contact with for about six months and since China relaxed their lockdown policy a couple of weeks ago, she and many of her clients got Covid too. I think China’s tough covid policy was the best way to deal with it and hopefully, now the virus is weaker there will be fewer deaths from infections. It’s amazing to me that other countries didn’t take it as seriously.
What tattoo do you want and where would you put it?
The next tattoo I get will be some Cardiacs lyrics on my right calf. I also want to get a Boognish tattoo but not quite sure where yet. Still thinking about the weird Trumans Water Spasm Smash cover too.

I took this picture because there’s spiders living in the trees!

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!

Moron Convention – 11th December 2022

Janky parking in entitled lots
The prize to get has got to be gots
The hustled and hustlers dancing in jitters
A microcosm of moronic critters
Overrun with amateurs, unable to discern
Anything beyond their own concern
Grown men anxious and chomping at bits
Losing their minds in explosive fits
Society and humanity seemingly forgotten
The race to the top has now reached the bottom
Used to a life full of broken noses
Shop til you drop, or at least til it closes

Embrace all obstacles as learning experiences, as means to getting stronger.

Robert Greene

Today I’m feeling:
Content and tired
Today I’m grateful for:
Nong May, Amy’s cousin (?), for driving me to get coffee in Lampang. Also dad for driving on the way in the morning, and mum for paying for lunch.
The best thing about today was:
I really enjoyed driving back from Lampang for the first hour. My neck got sore after that though. I also enjoyed lucid dreams again on the way there and was amazed it was already 11am when we got there. The drive only felt like 30 minutes to me but was almost 4 hours. Also meeting the little girl doing dot-to-dot in the cafe whilst I was waiting for coffee. She was very cute and curious.
What was out of your control today and how did you handle it?
Most of the day was out of my control and I had already accepted this beforehand.
Something I learned today?
Why do I struggle to recall things at the end of the day? Does information logged in my brain stay in there? Is it useful? Does it only get activated when triggered by something relevant? I suppose that makes sense. Or am I going through days without learning anything at all?
I did learn it was Nong Fah’s birthday today, thanks to a notification in LINE!
What’s your favourite time of day?
Sunrise and golden hour are both up there. Birth and death. Why? The living and sleeping parts don’t hold the same appeal? Like the land meeting the sea is more special than being in the ocean or the middle of the land. Do special things only happen at the edges?

I took this picture because this was the pretty garden area behind the restaurant we ate lunch at in Lampang. There were some amazing mountains along the way but I was driving and couldn’t take pictures.

To The Wolves – 9th December 2022

The wolves are gathering
Circling their prey
Armed with razor claws
Wet teeth on display
Surrounded by enemies
Fallen down ill
Fears turned to acceptance
Of the coming kill
Hot breath drinks blood
Flesh torn and ripped
Life flows away
Once so tightly gripped
Now the hunger sated
Left in the soft snow
The body reconciles
The way we all go

The future of the human race will likely depend on our ability to transcend this tribalism and to see our fate as interconnected with everyone else’s.

Robert Greene

Today I’m feeling:
Happy and relaxed
Today I’m grateful for:
The confusion caused with communication in our school as there was a meeting in the afternoon that meant we didn’t have classes. It was not clear if we were supposed to attend this meeting, along with all the students and there was enough confusing information that it meant I could sneak away, come home and have a nice afternoon nap! I can see my attitude to miscommunication is positive when the outcome works in my favour like this and luckily in this part of the school everything generally works out like this. This was not the case in our other schools.
The best thing about today was:
Listening to the Pitchblende album at high volume after Amy went out for the night and I ate a weed gummy. I always liked Pitchblende and their music is not easy to latch on to. Last night took it to the next level. If I hadn’t been getting sleepy I would’ve listened to the whole album again. As it was I hopped into bed and fell asleep listening to the jazzcore podcast which was also terrific.
What was out of your control today and how did you handle it?
As I was driving dad’s van back from our Mae Chan dinner, all the u-turns were closed off by police, which happens when a member of the royal family comes to visit Doi Tung and they want the motorcade to be able to smoothly pass on through. This meant we couldn’t make our exit for the last 200 metres home and we were instructed to pull over to the left and turn our lights off and wait for it to pass. Amy was a little frustrated and said “fucking stupid” and her dad was annoyed at where I pulled over and wanted to move 5 metres forward but everyone told him it doesn’t matter though by this time he’d jumped out of the car indicating he was going to drive now. He got back in the passenger seat and I was just bemused by everything. Amy’s dad has some weird reactions sometimes and I don’t get it at all. I can’t see any connection between the way Thai kids react and the way he does. It’s like an alien mindset to me that I just can’t understand. It seems to be cultural but most reactions I can see some sense in but sometimes his are just bizarre. I’m curious about how his thinking works! Anyway, I agree with Amy that it’s fucking stupid to inconvenience so many people like this (hundreds and hundreds of police have to stand around for up to six hours preparing for this)but there doesn’t need to be a reaction to it. In the end, we only had to wait a few minutes and I calmly sat and waited until we could go again and we were home without too much delay.
Something I learned today?
I’m writing this on Saturday morning and recalling events of yesterday and I know there are many small things I learned in passing, by reading, talking and interacting but nothing is stepping forward to announce itself right now. It’s one of those days of learning whilst not knowing you’re learning. Accumulating knowledge, stored in the brain bank and used subconsciously. Today I will try to be more conscious.
In what ways are you good at your job?
I’m good at my job in that I can make the students feel like they are having fun whilst learning a little. I come up with ideas for classes and I try to gauge my student’s feelings and abilities and help them when I can. I’m flexible, patient and understanding. Really these are not specific skills for my job of being a teacher but more for life. Life is my real job. Am I good at that? I’m still a student in that regard and hope to always be.

I took this picture because Cap was super chilled and sunk into the sofa, lost in his fur. No new pictures today so this is a default fallback cat pic!

One Thing – 5th December 2022

It’s all you have, there’s nothing else
All you held are old dusty dreams
It’s the time you are alive, this one thing
The only possession that is what it seems

Every moment wasted on the dramas of others subtracts from your strength.

Robert Greene

Today I’m feeling:
Happy and carefree despite still having to organise things for my students for tomorrow’s classes.
Today I’m grateful for:
The rental car company and for being able to drive around Phuket at leisure and without worry.
The best thing about today was:
Today has been steadily great. Right now we’re in the Hilton restaurant at the beach with free-flow alcohol. Good for Amy! This morning we had delicious brunch at another beach, along with Aing, after dropping Fern and Harper at the airport. Everything went super smoothly timing-wise and Amy and I drove back by the scenic beaches route with a quick circuit of Patong just as a reminder of being there 10 years ago. The lovely hotel we stayed at that time has been abandoned since, probably due to the pandemic, but there were lots of new ones and many foreign tourists around as expected. After dropping Amy back at Pim’s I went off book shopping and picked up one book I was looking for and another three by Studs Turkel, who I’ve never heard of, but was fascinated by the name and an approval from Kurt Vonnegot on the back cover of one. Awesome, even with the heavy rain.
Something I learned today?
According to surveys, Chiang Rai is the drunkest province in Thailand. Not sure how this was measured and it must be pretty serious as everywhere in Thailand loves a drink.
What are some of the challenges you face?
My biggest challenges at the moment probably revolve around health. I need to lose a little weight again and build up some stamina but seem to be suffering a little from what may be long covid. I get breathless and exhausted easily. I have aching hips and a painful neck, weak arms with painful elbows. I should focus a little bit of extra effort on maintenance in the next few months.

I took this picture because it was good timing for us to be dropping Fern to the airport near where Aing lives and Aing has a day off today so we could treat her to lunch. The food was great and the beach was good too.

Boundless – 1st December 2022

Our fear of death is negated by our fear of living
Buried underground with our fear of breathing
Miracles abound and they never stop giving
But our closed doors of perception have stopped receiving

Imagining differences is part of the madness of groups.

Robert Greene

Today I’m feeling:
Happy but then lethargic after two cocktails with late lunch
Today I’m grateful for:
Having spare pots around to transfer a cactus that kept falling over. I’m quite proud I’ve managed to keep some of them alive since Amy has been away. This one is a hardy one that had got too tall and unwieldy.
The best thing about today was:
Talking, playing and having fun with all different students. It’s starting to feel familiar for all of us now.
What was out of your control today and how did you handle it?
Another class today straggled in late but this time I just went with the flow, knowing that these kids wouldn’t react so maturely as the ones yesterday. It got them in the right mood to do my work and to be happily pushed along
What cities do you want to visit?
All of them. Why not!? I’m trying to think of a city I wouldn’t want to visit…

I took this picture because Goya was in a lively and artistic mood and apparently this is a drawing of me… She captured my shirt well! Goya is a smart kid but also a bit of a handful.

What’s Not Mine – 24th November 2022

My favourite mug smashed to pieces
Now strewn across the kitchen floor
Happened a thousand times in my mind
And so this is what I’ve prepared for

Whenever you must learn a new skill or alter your career path later in life, you reconnect with that youthful, adventurous part of yourself.

Robert Greene

Today I’m feeling:
Mostly happy, a little tired.
Today I’m grateful for:
The Bath and Body Works car freshener that lost its smell in the car but I brought it inside and shoved it in the screen door and pierced it slightly so the fluid can slowly drip. In the afternoon the sun hits it and the bedroom smells great.
The best thing about today was:
Not having to teach. Can’t complain about days like that.
What was out of your control today and how did you handle it?
I was expecting to have to teach today but at the last minute realised that I wouldn’t be able to. I hastily prepared some work for my students to do in their own time and was able to feel that I wasn’t neglecting my students or just skipping out. I doubt if most will do my work so at least I can see who is conscientious at least.
Describe your family’s greatest catastrophe to date.
I suppose this would be my father dying which undoubtedly affected things around me but as I was less than two years old I can’t say that it affected me directly at the time. It’s also not possible to say how it has affected me since as I have nothing to compare it with. I don’t think there has been anything catastrophic in my life since though no doubt some things may have felt so at the time.

I took this picture because Kim didn’t really seem to mind balancing across these parts of the sofa.