Friday, October 29, 2010

Friday Funnies


The morning in Chiang Rai started out looking like it might rain, but it turned into another great day. There was early shopping, and early lunch, and a late flight. Read on.

Just in case you haven't figured it out, the 'Old Folk Crap' song was "Lemon Tree" as sung by Peter, Paul & Mary. And now for some 'Old School Friday: "__ __ __ she built fit, she got everything that Uncle John need oh baby..." Clues: Three words that are a descriptive nickname for a certain person. It rhymes with alley, and it's sung by a man who often claims he invented Rock & Roll, and taught the Beatles everything they know. Hmm.

This morning, while thinking about packing for my trip it occurred to us that the suitcase I'd be using was too small. That meant a trip to Big C for a medium size, hard-shell case. During our travels we've come to the conclusion that the new style suitcases with latches are much better than canvas with zippers. A few more stops and it was time to pack. We told Boot that we'd eat early since I had to be at the airport a little after 12noon. She misunderstood and we got called to lunch at 10:30. No problem, we were both hungry and the 'brunch' was delicious.

When I went to check in at the airport the computers were down so all the boarding passes had to be done by hand. The lines were long but it worked out. When I went into the waiting room, I noticed that the plane we'd be taking to Bangkok was not on the tarmac. Our airport is such a laid back place that usually only two planes there at the same time. Finally I heard the call that the flight was arriving, which meant we'd have to wait until they emptied the plane, and spruced it up. Once we were airborne the view was incredible. I had a window seat in front of the wing and flying above the 'weather' looked like a softer version of Alaska, complete with puffy glaciers. Fortunately, the small child with the xylophone got sleepy not long after take-off.

The contrast of leaving the airport in Chiang Rai and arriving in Bangkok is quite dramatic. So much going on, so many airplanes, so many people. After I got my bag I proceeded to the taxi stand. I got an older gentleman who spoke very good English and we had some pleasant conversations. He told me that Fridays were the worst day for traffic. It took about one hour and twenty minutes to get to my hotel. On the way I saw a giant billboard for 'The Long Beach Love Boat Club'. Thought you'd want to know. It cracked me up.

After an early dinner at the hotel I set out for Pantip Plaza. I took the Skytrain to the Chit Lom exit, and walked for a long time. I finally got there and encountered sensory overload. The place was chaotic, with music, P.A. announcements, and the sounds of people hawking their wares. I managed to get everything on the list, and even found a travel iron. I mention that because the hotels in Thailand don't have irons in the rooms. You can't even get one from housekeeping. Some of them post notices about the dangers of irons. Oh, now we're going to get safety conscious. Hmm. Something must have happened a long time ago. After my wild shopping trip, I knew I'd never make it back to the hotel with all the boxes and bags so I got a Tuk-Tuk. I haven't been in one of those in a long time. What fun? Racing through the traffic, ducking down alleys, and enjoying every minute of it. Bangkok on a Friday night is something to behold.

I'll leave you now with the 'Funnies'. Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.


What ever happened to Proof Reading?

Police Begin Campaign to Run Down Jaywalkers

Miners Refuse to Work after Death

Juvenile Court to Try Shooting Defendant

War Dims Hope for Peace

If Strike Isn't Settled Quickly, It May Last Awhile

Cold Wave Linked to Temperatures

Red Tape Holds Up New Bridges

Man Struck By Lightning: Faces Battery Charge

Astronaut Takes Blame for Gas in Spacecraft

Kids Make Nutritious Snacks

Local High School Dropouts Cut in Half

Hospitals are Sued by 7 Foot Doctors

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style

Thursday, October 28, 2010



Last night we had a major storm. The kind that makes lakes in the lawns. Catching up on the rest of the week will be today's focus. Life in Chiang Rai is moving into 'The Season' as more and more visitors are coming to town.

I must say, many of you sure do know your 'Old Folk Crap'. Let's see if the chorus of the song helps the rest of you: "__ __ very pretty and the __ flower is sweet. But the fruit of the poor __ is impossible to eat. (repeat)" Hint: That single 'blank' is the first word of the title and it would have given it away. Oh, you can always add a little sugar. (Ha)

Wednesday we had our friend Pui and her mother over for lunch. We've known her almost since the beginning of our life here. She had a stall in the Night Bazaar and we became fast friends. She's been living in Alaska where her husband Jimmy services oil reclamation machinery. They just left the Gulf, where there was lots of work to be done. We had a very nice visit, catching up on what's been happening. That evening we went to the Night Bazaar with our friend Tye to take more pictures of items she may sell. More new things are on the tables now that tourist season is approaching. Did someone say 'shopping'?

Today we went to town for a few things, including treats in the market. The weather was beautiful, but it was a 'do what you like' driving day. In the afternoon I started another series of acupuncture on my left thumb. After that we had an oil massage. Today was very relaxing, and we both felt the benefit. There is a massage school in our village that Boot discovered. We're going to check it out and see if we can get a session with some teachers.

Tomorrow morning I will fly to Bangkok for the weekend. Part of my visit will be a trip to Pantip Plaza in search of some tech gear. One can never have enough tech gear. Well, that's not really true, but it's a fun place to go. It's like a super department store and they have all the latest 'stuff' to check out.

You may have heard about the flooding that's going on in Thailand. Chiang Rai has not been affected by any of this. We're over a thousand feet about sea level, and not in the storm patterns that have produced the flooding. A lot of the problems have to do with dams overflowing. Looks like we picked the right spot.

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


"Your present circumstances don't determine where you can go;
they merely determine where you start."
~Nido Qubein

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style

Wednesday, October 27, 2010



Our Wednesday has been sunny and warm. Today we'll finish up the weekend, and finally tell you about this week's happenings.

What a surprise to find that only two of you knew the 'Easy' song. Seth and Denny get a Silver Star for knowing "On and On" by Stephen Bishop. Oh well, 'Old Folk Crap' is here again and this time it's an easy one, I think:
"When I was just a lad of ten, my father said to me, 'Come here and take a lesson from the lovely __ __. Don't put your faith in love, my boy', my father said to me, 'I fear you'll find that love is like the lovely __ __."
Clue: Song title with two words, sung by three people, about one sad man. There's also some plant life involved. Don't blame me if it leaves a sour taste in your mouth.

The big news of the whole weekend was that Lisa gave Liz her card on Saturday night. By Sunday afternoon Liz had been to Lisa's website, and forwarded the link to her Senior Editor in Bangkok. She writes for a magazine called 'Traversing the Orient' and they want to do a piece on Lisa. Monday our friend Chalit came over with his brother and mother to do some studio photos of Lisa in her work environment. He also shot a portrait that's very nice. I guess we'll be bringing a few copies with us when we visit in December, since it's not available in the states.

Sunday evening we picked up Liz at her hotel and went to Jaffee's house. We hung out on the patio, and then he wanted to show us a cool place to eat. We followed him to the old airport area. Around a bend we came upon what looked like a drive-in. It's actually a diner called 'WCH' (World Class Hamburgers). It sits next to a 9-hole golf course, and the whole thing is owned by an American named Barry. We walked through the diner onto an area near a practice putting green. There were a number of salas with seating for four. Not far from us, at the golf course, there was a bingo game going on. When we got our menus, it was like being at a 50's diner. There were color pics of all the dishes, and lots of things I could eat. Barry came over while we were ordering and helped us. The chicken burger is outrageous. I asked for root-beer, and they brought me a can of A&W. I'll be back. Barry finally had time to come and sit at the table with us. We got his 'story' about how he came to be in Thailand with a burger joint. He's been here 10 years. It's always fascinating to hear how and why people settle in Thailand. One of the common denominators is always the Thai people.

Monday morning, while Lisa was having her photo session, I took Liz to see Wat Rong Khun (the White Temple). She's lived in Thailand for six years, but hasn't spent much time in the north. We had a great time marveling at all the work being done on the beautiful temple complex. If you still don't know about it, just Google it. There are thousands of pictures on the web.

I had told Liz about our friends at The Sold Project, and she was interested in meeting them so we set up a lunch at Aye's for Monday afternoon. We met with Deirdre and Michael, and learned even more about the project. I think it went well judging by the smiles, and exchange of cards at the end.

Get ready for Wacky Wednesday.


"The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain."
~Dolly Parton

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style

Tuesday, October 26, 2010



Today was a variation on the weather theme. Started out foggy, then looked like a pretty day until clouds rolled in, and brought light rain in the afternoon. Today we'll pick up with Saturday and the Festival, but first, this musical interlude.

Not one response for the 'Easy Monday' song. I know, you're studying your ballots. When you're done, sing this:
"Got the sun on my shoulders, and my toes in the sand. My woman's left me for some other man. Aw, but I don't care I'll just dream and stay tan. Toss up my heart and see where it lands, __ __ __ I just keep on trying, and I smile when I feel like dying __ __ __, __ __ __, __ __ __." Hint: We've 'remembered' this song before. Does this mean your memory is slipping? Hmm. Three words, two of them are the same, and it's a preposition. There, that ought to do it.

Saturday morning we went out to run some errands and ended up at the car wash. Actually, we ended up at Doi Chaang Coffee while they washed the car. We had a chance to talk to Kwan, visit with Aparna, who's going to Nepal to spend a month in a monastery, and hang out with Atom. It was fun running into friends.

The evening was to begin with dinner at The Legend, with music provided by the Biggles Big Band from Amsterdam. We were a little hesitant at first, but Jaffee wanted to meet there, and he was bringing a friend from Bangkok who is a reporter. We're also friends with the general manager and it was the right thing to do. We were in for a big surprise. The hotel set up a wonderful buffet, and our table was right by the river. When Jaffee and his friend Liz arrived we hit it off from the start. After a few tough decisions at the buffet, we sat down for dinner. Then the band slowly took their places and anticipation filled the air. We had heard brief blasts from the band on Friday night from across the river. I was afraid it was going to be too loud, but it turned out fine. They were great. As the set progressed, I got to watch how they really enjoyed what they were doing. They've been on the road for weeks, and it's their second trip to Thailand. The solos were authentic, and one of the sax players I talked to afterwards, told me he had studied the styles of horn players from the Basie/Ellington era. I could hear it in his tone. The band leader was tall slender man in an orange dinner jacket. He had a big smile, a warm personality and a thick accent. Then they brought out the singer, who sang a bunch of Frank Sinatra songs. It was a decent performance, but we had the speaker for the vocal mic right next to our table. Hmm. All in all, it was a wonderful evening. We made a new friend, ate well, and heard some neat music. Life is good.

We had planned to go back to The River House to see some Thai dancing, but it rained while we were at dinner so they probably had to shorten their show. We called it a night and went home, still buzzing from the fun we had.

Tomorrow we'll visit WCH. You'll just have to come back to find out what that means.

Have a Happy Tuesday.


"If you believe you can, you probably can.
If you believe you won't, you most assuredly won't.
Belief is the ignition switch that gets you off the launching pad."
~Denis Waitley

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style

Monday, October 25, 2010



The weekend weather was very nice in Chiang Rai. We had some brief rain on Saturday night which messed with our newly washed car, but the rest of the time it was sunny and warm. We went to the Festival of Music and Art, made a new friend, had a photo shoot at the house, and I went to Wat Rong Khun. It will take a few days to tell you all about all of this so stay tuned.

That 'Old School Friday' song that was buggin' you was "Chantilly Lace" by The Big Bopper. For 'Cool Points' tell me his real name. This little challenge came from brother Denny. And now, for 'Easy Monday', name this tune:
"Down in Jamaica they got lots of pretty women. Steal you money then they break your heart. Lonesome Sue, she's in love with ol' Sam, take him from the fire into the frying pan. __ __ __, she just keeps on trying, and she smiles when she feels like crying __ __ __, __ __ __, __ __ __." Hint: The song title is three words, two are the same. Singers last name is the same as a chess piece. Easy.

Friday evening we started our festival tour at the Mantrini Hotel, with an exhibit of local artists. We saw lots of friends, and some interesting work. There were landscapes, and abstract works, plus some very nice music. From there we went to the Rimkok Hotel, which is near our house. They had traditional Thai dancing performed by a student group. Their costumes were beautiful, and for school kids, they did pretty good. There is no professional dance troupe in Chiang Rai. The hotel also had a unique buffet that was set up like a Lana marketplace. Our next stop was The River House. We'd never been there, but we'll probably go back. It's a beautiful hotel and the garden supplied the setting for the Chiang Rai Youth Orchestra. This weekend they were celebrating their 10th anniversary. We sat with our friend Jaffee, who introduced us to Dr. Munee, a retired physician who now runs a traditionally inspired resort about 60 kilometers south of town. Our table was right in front of the orchestra so we got to see and hear everything without distraction. Most of the kids are Jr. and Sr. high school age, and they had a few alumni also sitting in. It was a great concert and the audience was very appreciative. They also did a performance on Saturday night at the Dusit Island Resort where they were joined by members of orchestras from four universities. We missed that, but there were 60 musicians playing. That was our Friday night experience. Tomorrow I'll tell you about Saturday night.

Have a Great Week.


"Always remember that YOU are Unique,
just like everyone else."

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style

Friday, October 22, 2010

Friday Funnies


We had a beautiful day here in Chiang Rai. Sunny with passing clouds. Today I went on a road trip. Tonight we go to an art exhibition. Updates on Monday.

The 'Old Folk Crap' song was "House of the Rising Sun", as sung by any number of people. Most of you thought it was by The Animals, but they were 'late to the show', since the first recording was in 1920 by Texas Alexander. The house was a brothel named after Madame Marianne LeSoleil Levant (which means Rising Sun in French). Many artists have recorded the song, but Nina Simone's was the one that The Animals first heard. Now you know. Big thanks to my friend Barry for the history lesson/research. For 'Old School Friday' see if you remember this one:
"Ha, ha, ha, ha. Oh you sweet thing. Do I what? Will I what? Oh baby you know what I like. __ __ and a pretty face, and a pony tail hanging down..." Hint: It's from the late 50s, and the title in two words is kinda frilly. This singer was 'Big' but his career ended too soon.

This morning I drove north to the base of Doi Tung (Flag mountain), which is a 40 minute drive. A friend of mine from Chiang Mai was there and wanted to meet for coffee. He and his wife were staying at a mini-resort owned by his wife's sister. We sat in a cozy shaded area with lots of plants and talked of many things. I commented on how quiet it was, and he told me that the night before there were about 250 tourists in the yard, having a party. The whole area is dotted with what look like bungalow motels. Doi Tung is a visitor destination since it's where the home and gardens of the late Princess Mother are located. I'll have more to tell you about her next week. The drive was well worth the effort, and now I know about an area that was previously just a turn-off on the highway. I also drove past the starting line for the big bicycle race.

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd. Time for something 'Funny'.


"To all my friends and relatives who have sent me best 'wishes', chain letters, 'angel' letters or other promises of good luck: None of the Stuff Worked!

Could you please just send cash, chocolate, pizza, or airline tickets instead? Thank you!"

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style

Thursday, October 21, 2010



Chiang Rai is still getting light rain, but it lasts for hours. Today's episode started early in the morning and lasted until about 8:30am. Nothing like other parts of Thailand. We learned a new word, I was given a new shirt, and we're back to the old story of 'too cold to swim'.

It seems that 'Old Folk Crap' day is turning into an exercise in cultural education. There's been a lot of research on this song by many of you. That's wonderful. If you haven't gotten it yet, this verse may ring a bell. I hope so.
"So mother, tell your children, not to do what I have done. And live your lives in sin and misery in the __ __ __ __ __." Clue: Most of you may know this as a 60s hit by a group from across the water. First recording was in 1920 (thanks Barry). Something about a hotel with a bad rep.

This morning we went into town. Lisa had a salon appointment, and I had a list of errands. I enjoy seeing the city doing it's thing in the morning. It's probably the same everywhere, but there's something more immediate about it here. Instead of watching delivery trucks go to the back of the supermarket, I watch a man and his wife deliver fresh vegetables to a roadside stand on their motorbike. I think that gives you an idea of what I mean. As I was crossing the bridge that leads toward home I looked over to see the level of the river. There was a monk, in his bright orange robes, standing on the muddy shore, just looking at the river. I turned my head back to the road and saw the old woman who walks up and down the road, a bag over her shoulder, and a walking stick for support.
All that was a distinct contrast to the three high-tech stores I went into looking for an item. There's a little bit of everything, new and old, fast and slow, high and low. It's never gets dull.

Our friend Tye and her family returned from a big vacation trip yesterday. She and Napa came over today and brought us gifts from the trip. Tye brought Lisa a beautiful turquoise jewelry set, and I now have a cool brown t-shirt with a burlap inset with the name of a province, in Thai. Now we have to look at a map so we understand where they went. There are many provinces in Thailand. They are like states. People assume that you know where they are, but we're clueless. If you look at a detailed map of the country you will understand.

Yesterday, while driving with Sutheera, Lisa learned a new use for a Thai word. Today she passed it on to me. When someone is driving badly they are a 'Kwai' (my spelling) which means buffalo. Makes sense to me. It's comforting to have a word to mumble to myself as I make my way through the city. (555)

The event we thought was tonight is really tomorrow night. It just means we may be doubling up on the fun a bit. That means that I'll be sending you your Friday message in my late afternoon. I'll give you a festival rundown next week.

Enjoy Your Thursday.


"Gratitude is one of the sweet shortcuts
to finding peace of mind and happiness inside.
No matter what's going on outside of us,
there's always something we could be grateful for."
~Barry Neil Kaufman

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style

Wednesday, October 20, 2010



And then the rains came. It started raining in the middle of the night and continued through the morning. Mostly light drizzle, but still rain. Lisa had lunch with a good friend, and I continued with my project. The dogs finally got to play outside in the afternoon. We also made some decisions as to what we want to see during the festival weekend.

'Easy Monday' was a hit with a lot of you. It was "Lady Marmalade" by LaBelle. Back by popular demand, it's 'Old Folk Crap' time. This week's song should be familiar to even non-folkies. "My mother was a tailor. She sewed my new blue jeans. My father was a gambling man, down in New Orleans." Clue: Those lyrics are from the second verse. The title is in five words. It's about a place, and it dates back way before most of us were born.

The rain we got today is probably the tail end of some major storms that have been causing flooding in the north east. The two women who give us our massages were planning to go home to visit in one of the cities that has had flooding. We don't know if they went or not.

Lisa and Sutheera went out to lunch, while I dined at home. Boot made a delicious meal for me of shrimp with flat noodles. I must admit, it was a little odd eating alone. Sutheera has a heavier teaching load at the university this term, and it's been a long time since they had a chance to get together and talk.

Tomorrow evening we'll go to the Mantrini Hotel for an exhibit put on by art students who will be creating abstract works during the exhibition. It should be interesting. Friday night we'll go to The River House Hotel to hear the Chiang Rai Youth Orchestra, and see some traditional Thai dancing. Saturday night it's big band music at the Legend Hotel, by a group from Amsterdam. Whew, my head is spinning.

As if that weren't enough, the bicycle riders are out on the streets training for the 'Tour de Upper Lana' which is on Sunday and Monday. Who says things don't happen in Chiang Rai? This place is Amazing.

Time for a Wacky Wednesday.


"Learn how to be happy with what you have
while you pursue all that you want."
~Jim Rohn

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style

Tuesday, October 19, 2010



I guess those of you in So. California are wondering why I keep giving you rain updates. Well, now you know. I read your weather forecasts. When it happens everyday, the days when it doesn't rain are special. We had rain overnight, and sprinkles a couple of times today. It was a rather dim day. We never left the compound. Lisa finished another cast acrylic print, and I did some work on my new project. We're getting excited about the big weekend coming up.

The song was 'Easy' for a bunch of you. Today I'll leave you with the chorus, which will be your big clue for today:
"Voulez-vous coucher avec moi, ce soir? Voulez-vous couchez avec moi? Voulez-vous couchez avec moi, ce soir? Creole __ __." Hint: Some of you may know this song from a recent movie. Just know that it was not the original. The group that recorded the song also had a French name that happened to be the last name of the lead singer. How deep is that?

I have dropped several hints that I'm working on a new project, but never told you about it. Here's the deal: I'm filming life in Chiang Rai, as I see it, for a video magazine style Youtube presentation. It would have 'Episodes' on a semi-regular basis that would have a feature story, a place of interest, and something to make you go 'Hmm'. I've started piecing together the introductory edition, learning as I go. You will be the first to know when it's done and posted. There are lots of 'travel' videos, but I haven't seen anything that gives more that an overview. Stay tuned.

The Chiang Rai Music & Arts Festival begins on Thursday night and we'll be at the Mantrini Hotel for the opening of one of the art exhibits. We have no idea just what the order of things will be during the weekend, but we're going to be taking the river shuttle to several hotels for whatever they're hosting. Our friend Jaffee has been involved in the planning and promotion of the festival so we're getting inside information. There are banners, and printed material, but not a lot of info in English. Nice to have someone who can fill in the blanks. I'll record as much as possible so you can see it later on my 'show'. Hmm, I'd better make up some business cards and make it look official. (555) Culturally speaking, letting others know of the importance of what you do or who you are seems to carry a lot of weight. In the land of contrast and contradiction, there is 'humility', and there is also 'blowing of one's horn'. Amazing Thailand.

Have a Happy Tuesday.


"If you have made mistakes, even serious mistakes,
you may have a fresh start any moment you choose,
for this thing we call "failure" is not the falling down,
but the staying down."
~Mary Pickford

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style

Monday, October 18, 2010



We had pretty good weather over the weekend here in Chiang Rai. It kept looking like rain, but it never happened during the day. I tried a different kind of massage, we had a different kind of lunch, and enjoyed an intimate evening at the art gallery. Oh yes, Daku is getting a little better at frisbie.

'Old School Friday' brought lots of mail. It was "That'll Be The Day" by Buddy Holly and The Crickets. Wayne noted that they were an original 'Garage Band' from Texas. Now it's time for 'Easy Monday'. You know this one:
"Hey sister, go sister, soul sister, go sister (x 2). He met __ down in Old New Orleans, struttin' her stuff on the street. She said 'Hello hey Joe, you wanna give it a go? Gitchi, gitchi, da da? Gitchi, gitchi, ya, ya, here? Mocca chocolata ya ya, Creole __ __." Hint: Not sure if you really need one, but let's just say it's not about Ovaltine. (Ha) More like jam. Hmm.

Saturday was a day of light running around. We went to Bliss photo studio and hung out with Chalit and his brother. We told him about the art opening on Sunday, and talked about the grind of 'art promotion'. In the afternoon we went for our weekly massage. I finally got talked into trying the oil massage. I really enjoyed it. The Thai oil massage is gentler than the 'regular', and it left me very relaxed. I guess I'll be getting that from now on. We had talked about going to Walking Street, but we felt so mellow we just stayed home.

Sunday was a busy day. We had lunch with Atom at the Vietnamese restaurant that is owned by a local artist. There are paintings, and wooden sculptures hanging all around. It's quite a warm environment. Atom helped us order, to make sure our meal wasn't too spicy. Generally, all the dishes are 'Hot'. We had a wonderful visit, and as always, learned a little more about Thai culture. Until the era of Rama V (1853-1910), food was eaten with the fingers. King Chulalongkom traveled outside the country and one of the influences of the western world was the use of utensils. The spoon was probably the only thing used, and that was just for soup. Many people still eat in the traditional way. Now you know.

The exhibit at 9 Art Gallery was scheduled for 6pm, and our friend Deirdre met us at our house and we rode over together. When we arrived at the gallery they were still setting up and no one was there. We decided to go to dinner and then return for the show. The event at the gallery was a very laid-back affair. It was an impromptu presentation since the original artist had to cancel. The collection was beautiful. Most of the artists were there, just sitting around talking. There was no formal introduction, no ribbon cutting, just a mellow evening. We got to spend a lot of time with Khun Sompong, who owns the gallery with his wife. He had four paintings on exhibit and he told us of his motivation, and a lot more. It was a chance to really get to know him, not only as an artist, but as a person. After the show we went back to our house and talked about the experience, and learned more about life at the Sold Project Resource Center.

This morning we went to Makro and got a little refrigerator for our bedroom. It's very quiet, and now we don't have to do the stairs if we want cold water. I imagine there will be other items we'll keep in there as the mood strikes.

Daku has been 'training' with the frisbie and is totally into it now. He can catch it about half the time, and seems to love the work aspect. Of course, he gets a treat if he catches it so there's added incentive. After all, he is a dog. (Ha)

Have a Great Week.


"It is never too late to be what you might have been."
~George Eliot

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style

Friday, October 15, 2010

Friday Funnies


Of course there was rain last night. Today was a bit threatening at times, but no water from the sky. Chiang Rai did get a little wind storm that had us running around closing windows, doors, and umbrellas. We made a road trip up north this morning, and hung out this afternoon. Nice day.

It looks like we'll be continuing with 'Old Folk Crap' due to your overwhelming response. Our opening song was "Tom Dooley" by The Kingston Trio. It's time for another episode of 'Old School Friday'. I think you'll remember this one. "Well, __ __ __ __, when you say goodbye. Yes, __ __ __ __, when you make me cry. You say you're gonna leave, you know it's a lie, 'cause __ __ __ __ when I die." Hint: It's a hit from the 50s by an artist who sang with a group named for an insect. He's no longer with us, but he left a lot of great songs.

This morning we drove up to the big Tesco store near the border town of Mae Sai. It was a pretty easy drive, traffic was light, and the border police weren't interested in stopping cars going north. We don't fit the profile they're looking for anyway. The countryside was incredible. All of the rain has left the foothills thick with new growth. As for Tesco, if you can imagine a Target with a bank branch, a KFC, a food court, and a kiddie ride section, then you get the picture. They have a large appliance department, where we got a little electric tea pot, a big clothing section where we got nothing, and two isles of things we shouldn't eat, where we got flavored marshmallows. We did buy some healthy essentials, and we also discovered chicken sausage. Hmm. I'll let you know next week.

As we traveled up and down the highway we noticed new growth in the form of building projects. The area north of Chiang Rai is getting busier. It's still basically farm land, but we saw shophouses and apartments being built. That's an indication that people are coming. This is the last frontier, and as commerce increases with China and South Korea it should get quite interesting.

I have mentioned how the fields beside and behind us get plowed, planted, and then appear to be neglected. Well, we think we got an explanation. There is a lot of corn grown for animal feed. It's quite possible that the small plots around us are for that purpose. I wish they'd grow some sugar cane. It's nice to look at. (Ha)

Sunday night we'll be going to 9 Art Gallery for the opening of a new exhibit. This one will feature 9 artists, so there should be quite a mix of work, and a lively crowd. As long as it doesn't rain, things will be cool. We're looking forward to seeing our friends, and the new work.

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd. Enjoy the 'Funnies' from my dear friend Lee.


Q: How can you increase the heart rate of your 60+ year old husband?
A: Tell him you're pregnant.

Q: What can a man do while his wife is going through menopause?
A: Keep busy. If you're handy with tools, you can finish the basement.
When you are done you will have a place to live.

Q: How can you avoid spotting a wrinkle every time you walk by a mirror?
A: The next time you're in front of a mirror, take off your glasses.

Q: Why should 60+ year old people use valet parking?

A: Valets don't forget where they park your car.

Q: Is it common for 60+ year olds to have problems with short term memory storage?
A: Storing memory is not a problem, retrieving it is a problem.

Q: As people age, do they sleep more soundly?
A: Yes, but usually in the afternoon.

Q: Where do 60+ year olds look for fashionable glasses?
A: Their foreheads.

Q: What is the most common remark made by 60+ year olds when they enter antique stores?
A: "I remember these".

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style

Thursday, October 14, 2010



I was going to tell you that we had a day without rain, but Lisa reminded me that I napped through an afternoon storm. The humidity is terrible, but what can you do? Today we visited the photo studio, and I did some filming around town. We also did a little house cleaning.

It looks like 'Old Folk Crap' has sparked a lot of childhood memories. This group was named for a city on an island. "This time tomorrow, reckon where I'll be. Hadn't a-been for Grayson, I'd be in Tennessee. Hang down your head __ __, hang down your head and cry..." Clue: It's a sad song that ends with a white oak tree. The three singers were all men, and had a ten year run with numerous hits.

This morning we took more of Lisa's artwork to be photographed. Chalit, the photographer, talked to us about the approach for our portraits.

The big event today was tackling the 'shed' as we call it. There is a room on the back side of the house that was originally intended to be a changing room for swimming, but it quickly turned into that place where you put stuff. You know the one. The place where the 'someday we'll do something with it', or 'I hate to throw that away', or 'we may need this one day' things all seem to gather. Lisa, Boot, and I methodically pulled things out and made piles on the deck. We found things, pondered others, and now have some actual floor space in the 'shed'. There are still boxes of 'stuff' but we now know what they are. It's a good feeling to let go of the things we weren't using.

Lisa and Daku had another frisbie session today and he's really improving. In fact, he's so into it that we have to hide the thing because if he sees it, he wants to play. Nothing like a dog with a mission. Hmm.

Have a Thorough Thursday.


"What lies behind us and what lies before us
are tiny matters compared to what lies within us."

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style

Wednesday, October 13, 2010



The rainy season continues. Chiang Rai saw the beginning of a beautiful day, and then we heard distant thunder. Early afternoon the rain came. Nice evening, and probably more rain later. Nobody really knows. Meanwhile, we went to Big C for a couple of things and came out with a full basket. Meanwhile, I practiced patience, and we filled the car with laughter. Daku is learning to catch a frisbie.

The Shirelles were the first to record "Will You Love Me Tomorrow". Wonderful song that has lasted many decades. Today we were talking about something and Lisa quoted a line, but couldn't remember where it came from. A few minutes later she started singing an old folk song. What? Next thing we knew we were laughing hysterically at the phrase 'Old Folk Crap', and a new category was born. Today we'll see just how far back your musical knowledge goes. Sometimes it will be hip, sometimes lame, but just remember what it is. If you get offended, then you can write me. I used to sing this stuff, so 'whatever'. Our first offering is one you should all know: "...I met her on the mountain, there I took her life. Met her on the mountain, stabbed her with my knife. Hang down you head __ __, hang down your head and cry. Hand down your head __ __. Poor boy, you're bound to die." Hint: It's an adaptation of a song from the 1800s about the eternal triangle. Clearly the two blanks are a name. Hmm. Oh, it was made famous by three singers.

If it weren't for the fact that as long as it rains, I don't have to water the lawns, I'd be ready for it to end today. As it is, we're living in a wonderful green space that serves as an oasis.

This morning we needed some water so we went to The 'C' for supplies. We were a little surprised at how crowded it was for a week day morning. Then we remembered that many of the schools are on their extended winter break. We actually ended up doing our weekly shopping, since we didn't do it over the weekend. We made a point of checking out the construction across the highway from Big C. They are making great progress on Central, which will be the biggest shopping complex north of Chiang Mai. So far, what we can see is huge. If it's close to the size of the one in Chiang Mai, it will be an all-day adventure at least once a week.

Whenever driving in Chiang Rai, there is always a moment when I find myself behind someone on a motorbike that seems lost/out of place. Today was no exception. We followed a guy who drove like this was his first trip to the city. It's not unusual when you consider how many people live in the mountains and the rural farmland, and never have to come to town. It reminded me of how awkward I felt the first times I drove here. It takes an adjustment.

Lisa is teaching Daku how to catch a frisbie. It's one that was made for dogs, and has a 'catchable' rim. Sometimes he's ready when it arrives, and sometimes he gets engrossed in it's flight and totally misses. He's just doing close range tosses now, but he's a smart dog and in time he will be running and leaping to catch the disk.

It's time for Wacky Wednesday.


"Self-discipline is when your conscience tells you to do something
and you don't talk back."
~W. K. Hope

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style

Tuesday, October 12, 2010



The rainy season is not over. Two storms in 24 hours says it all, almost. We got our new internet connection, Lisa resumed teaching ballet, and the dogs roamed a soggy yard.

Our 'Easy' song was easy for some of you. The last verse may ring a bell. The title, 5 words, is actually only sung once. An extra word is added in the other verses. "I'd like to know that your love, is love I can be sure of. So tell me now and I won't ask again, __ __ __ __ __ __." Clue: It was co-written by a singer who recorded it 11 years later, after the initial hit, on her first album. You know this song, it's one of the all-time popular songs on many lists.

Last night we had a big rain storm. It rained hard for a long time. This morning the front and back yards were lakes. We figured that was the end of it, but late this morning we had a downpour that went on for quite awhile. It would get quite intense, ease up, and then pour even more. There was no wind so it had nowhere to go. We won't have to water for a few days, that's for sure.

This morning two technicians came and installed the modem for our new connection. Initial speed tests show that it's downloading as advertised, which is much faster than the old system. The problem with all the numbers is that sometimes it still seems slow, but there are many factors involved. Tomorrow morning we have an opportunity to see how Skype behaves. If nothing else, our new modem has a modern design that looks much cooler than the other one. (555)

When it rains hard, it means that the dogs have all new smells to investigate. Daku has a morning routine after breakfast that requires him to examine the entire perimeter of the yard. He's very systematic about it. I just leave him to his 'work'. He has also decided that he should do a little landscape gardening in the form of plant removal. Not cool. BamBam's main job is to make sure there are no birds in the yard, and to bark at anything that has changed. They are both very happy in the domain. For some Thai dogs, the street is their domain. Today I saw a dog who had positioned himself in the middle of a busy 'T' intersection, just watching the cars go in all different directions. It was like he was the traffic officer. Of course, everyone drove around him and nobody honked. Amazing Thailand.

Have a Happy Tuesday.


"It is expressly at those times when we feel needy
that we will benefit the most from giving."
~Ruth Ross

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style

Monday, October 11, 2010



The weather has been great. We had a little surprise storm on Saturday, but it only lasted a minute. We had two lunch 'dates', got on the train, and managed to catch the F1 race from Japan. Things are getting interesting in Chiang Rai. Stay tuned.

The 'Old School' song was "Little Star" by The Elegants. I guess that could have been a Monday song. Hmm.
Let's start the week with a truly 'Easy Monday'. "Tonight you're mine completely. You give your love so sweetly. Tonight the light of love is in your eyes, but __ __ __ __ __?" Hint: Really? Well, it's by a group of young women who had a ton of hits in the 60s. It's asking if love will last.

Saturday we had Jaffee over for lunch. He and Lisa worked on strategy for the February art exhibit, and started planning for a possible show in Bangkok next year. He's very involved in promoting the upcoming Chiang Rai Music and Arts Festival later this month. There will be a variety of activities at the major hotels, including a riverboat shuttle to the various events. We're really looking forward to this. There will also be a major bicycle 'tour' type race this month. Lisa and Jaffee were sitting on the patio, enjoying the afternoon air when it started sprinkling. I had gone into town on an errand and discovered wet streets, and a light drizzle. When I returned they told me it had rained so hard they had to come inside. The whole patio was soaked. Talk about a cloudburst.

Sunday we had lunch with our friend Atom. We went to a restaurant we discovered while cruising Walking Street last week. We'd never actually eaten there so it was an experiment. They must have had a busy Saturday night because several items we ordered were 'finished', as they put it. After lunch we decided to go check out the new Chiang Rai Train Library. We walked up a steep staircase into the first car and were quite surprised. There were bookshelves on both sides, stocked with brand new books. There was everything from Thai classics to children's books. As we went through the three cars we saw parents and children sitting at tables reading and looking at pictures together. It was a beautiful sight.

Have a Great Week.


"Life is playing a violin solo in public
and learning the instrument as one goes on."
~Samuel Butler

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style

Friday, October 8, 2010

Friday Funnies


What started out as another beautiful day is ending with some much needed rain. The timing couldn't be better. We acquired more seating space, got wired for faster internet, and found Sky Mall online. Oh, the joy.

You've probably sung "A Song For You" to yourself for years. You can thank Leon Russell for writing and recording the original version back in 1970. Now you know. You also know that it's 'Old School Friday'. This one's easy:
"Where are you __ __ (Where are you) Whoah oh, oh, oh-uh-oh Ratta ta ta too-ooh-ooh (Repeat utterances)
Twinkle twinkle __ __ How I wonder where you are Wish I may, wish I might Make this wish come true tonight.
Searched all over for a love, you're the one I'm thinkin' of, Whoah...." Hint: I think it's pretty obvious what the the title is. Now you have to write me.

Today was one of those days that looked rainy, then clear, then cloudy. It warmed up, but didn't get too hot, which was a nice change. This morning we went to a furniture store on the highway where we've shopped before. It's not really what one would call a furniture store. More like a big shelter with wooden tables and chairs for sale. We got another patio set since our gatherings have been growing. Now we can easily seat 12 to 14 around the food and conversation. That makes it a party.

Monday, when we ordered the new internet system, they told us it would be 7 to 10 days before installation. They came today, at nap time. Of course, when someone rings the bell with new, faster internet, I get up fast and act like I was awake all the time. (555) The two guys spoke no English, and we reached a point in the discussion of wire routing that called for a Thai speaker. Boot was also taking a nap and didn't know they were at the house. I had to wake her up to communicate with the workers. Not a good thing, but it all worked out. Now we have to wait until Monday or Tuesday to get our modem. What?

Lisa was looking through a Sky Mall catalog we got on our last trip back, and discovered they have a web site. If you've ever looked at one of these magazines you know that it can become totally engrossing. So many things that I didn't know existed. Sleep may have to wait.

Finally, in the 'Latest Craze' department: Thailand has been struck by a fad that hit the U.S. over 50 years ago. A simple device has got everyone going crazy. What is it? The Hula Hoop, what else. They're all over the place. And they come in assorted sizes. Not only the diameter, but there are hoops as fat as a bicycle tire. Some come in colorful patterns. Today, while we were getting gas, the cashier was 'hooping' right there by the pumps. I thought you'd want to know. Amazing Thailand.

Have a Wonderfilled WeekEnd. Enjoy the 'Funnies'.

Bumper Stickers

Santa's elves are just a bunch of subordinate Clauses.

Editing is a rewording activity.

Make yourself at home .....clean my kitchen

Allow me to introduce my selves

Better living through denial

Chaos. Panic. Disorder. My work here is done

Is it time for your medication or mine?

I'm not tense, just terribly, terribly alert....

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style

Thursday, October 7, 2010



Chiang Rai got another great day, with a slight sprinkle this afternoon. The day was pretty mellow, with some shopping for essentials, and a call about a photo shoot.

So far, only one person has named the song. My friend Ricardo knew it. I'll bet this first verse will make it clear.
"I've been so many places in my life and time. I've sung a lot of songs, I've made some bad rhyme. I've acted out my love in stages, with ten thousand people watching, but we're alone now and I'm singing __ __ __ __." Hint: It's by a guy who later became a 'mad dog', and has masqueraded as many characters.

It looks like we may be coming out of the rainy season. The sky can get cloudy, but nothing happens. Today we had some sprinkles that didn't really get the ground wet. Later I went into town and some streets were wet, and out on the highway it was sunny and hot. Gotta love those multiple weather systems. At this rate, I may have to water the lawns.

While we were out and about this morning we got a call from Chalit, the photographer who's been documenting Lisa's catalog. He wants to do a photo project of me and my guitar. We noticed that he had some photos on the wall in his studio of musicians. Some time next week we'll go in and I'll 'perform' for the camera. Hmm.

Driving in Chiang Rai always offers new approaches to certain situations. This evening, as I came to the three-way intersection by the hospital, a guy in a truck was making his way through the 'dance' and turned on his flashers, as if to say 'Here I come'. When he passed through he turned them off. I guess that's one way to get other drivers' attention. Of course that assumes that they see the lights and know what they mean. And just what was the emergency? I'm still having difficulty with people turning in front of me when the light turns green. That would never happen in L.A. Right?

For your Thai lesson today, the word is 'chi' (long 'I'). Depending on the tone it can mean 'yes' or 'use'. Also, the commonly used word for 'percent' is 'percent'. Now you know.

Have a Thrilling Thursday. Today's quote was sent to me by my good friend Eileen. Thanks a bunch.


"The greatest evil that can befall man
is that he should come to think ill of himself."
~Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style

Wednesday, October 6, 2010



Another fabulous day in Chiang Rai. We spent some time outside of the walls, got some work done, and swam. The dogs are happy they have their yard back.

'Easy Monday' was brought to you by "Bohemian Rhapsody" and Queen. Today's lyric is from the second verse of a song from 1970. It's had a million covers, and you'll get 'Cool Points' if you tell me the writer/singer who did it first. "I know your image of me is what I hope to be. I've treated you unkindly, but darlin' can't you see. There's no one more important to me, darlin' can't you please see through me, 'cause we're alone now and I'm singing __ __ __ __." Hint: The hook in the song is not exactly the same as the title, but it's still four words. You might not need any clues, but it's a song about a song. Hmm.

Last night we were about to go to a party when I wrote to you. It was quite a gathering of people we knew, and some we didn't. We had some great visits, and got to hang out and learn more about our new friends. Kevin, the birthday boy, and I talked music for quite awhile. When his cake was presented, everyone insisted on a speech. He read a quote from a book he just finished. I immediately asked him to send it so I could share it with you. Every time we go to a little gathering of volunteers, it makes me think about how many courageous people there are in the world. The ones who leave the comfort of their familiar surroundings and travel far away to help someone else. It's enough to make one smile.

This morning we went downtown, or rather, Lisa drove us downtown. She's taking the bull by the horns, confronting the streets of Chiang Rai. We visited with Atom at work, where we started a search for a stronger coating for our yard furniture. We also set a time and place for our Sunday lunch. A few doors down we stopped at the pet supply store for more dog food. I think we're getting the Thai price since we've been such regular customers. Nothing like living in a small town.

Lisa has been working on a new series within a series. You'll just have to wait and see what I'm talking about. If you'd like to see some of the work that will be in next year's show, go to her gallery link below and click on 'cast acrylic prints'. That will show you the new stuff.

Monday the yard crew was here all day. That meant the dogs had to stay in the house or the pen. We'd take them out on the leash, but they didn't get to rip and run. Tuesday Nui and Oui were working on the patio most of the day. Today there was no work being done. The yard was theirs again. This morning, while Daku was giving the place his inspection, he discovered a cat in one of the front gardens. He chased it all the way around the house where it jumped the wall to safety. He's getting faster, but he's no match for a cat. Now he checks the garden every chance he gets. He's a dog.

It's time for Wacky Wednesday.


"A life spent shaping a world I want my children to inherit, not one I fear my children shall inherit, this strikes me as a life worth the living"
~David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas).

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style

Tuesday, October 5, 2010



We had partly cloudy skies for one of our busiest days lately. There was terrazzo cleaning, errand running, ticket buying, and a meeting with the internet, sort of. Tonight we go to a party.

I got some correct responses from some of our opera lovers. I know there are more out there.
"I see a little silhouetto of a man, scaramouch, scaramouch will you do the fandango? Thunderbolt and lightning, very, very frightening to me. Gallileo, Gallileo, (repeat x 2) Figaro - magnifico..." Clue: I know, doesn't make much sense, but maybe that's the beauty of it. Hmm, then again maybe it does. The title is in two words that are not in the song. What?

This morning Lisa drove us to the airport. I had to buy a ticket for a Bangkok trip later this month. She did a great job negotiating through town and up the Super Highway.

We had to rush back to the house to be ready for two friends of Boot's and ours, who were coming over to attack the stains on the terrazzo. Nui, and his younger brother Oui were at the house when we arrived. They worked for a long time, scrubbing and washing. It looks a lot better now.

A little after lunch we had a meeting with three people from 3BB internet. The new service will be installed in about a week. Today I signed the contract, but didn't realize that I'd have to pay in advance. That meant making a trip down to Big C to handle the rest of the business.

While I was at Big C, Lisa was having another Thai lesson with Tye. Today she learned that the words for scared and salt are basically the same, with a subtle pronunciation difference. If you don't get it just right you might be saying 'Please pass the scared'. After the lesson they picked up Napa from school and Lisa taught a ballet lesson.

Our new friend Kevin, from the crew from The Sold Project is celebrating a birthday so we're off to a party.

Have a Happy Tuesday.


"There is nothing stronger than gentleness."
~Hans Suyin

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style

Monday, October 4, 2010



We had quite a dry, exciting weekend. We swam, got a massage, and walked the street.

Looks like we had an easy one for 'Old School Friday'. "Charlie Brown" by The Coasters was fun for all. Now you get the real 'Easy Monday' with one that will surely ring a bell: "Is this the real life? Is this just a fantasy? Caught in a landslide, no escape from reality. Open your eyes, look up to the skies and see. I'm just a poor boy, I need no sympathy..." Clue: A mini-operetta from some 'royalty'. Quite a drama.

The biggest event of our weekend was on Saturday night when we went to 'Walking Street'. The literal translation from Thai to English is 'Street you walk'. It's been a long time since we went, and it's grown tremendously. We got there just as it was getting busy. There are about five city blocks that are blocked off, and it's back-to-back vendors on both sides of the street, plus down the middle. There was music of every description, food in abundance at every turn, and more people than you could imagine. We only saw about half of it in an hour and a half. There's one side street that's devoted to nothing but food. It's the thing to do in Chiang Rai on a Saturday night. They start setting up in mid-afternoon and it's a monumental task. There's a basketball court that becomes an eating area as well as a dance floor. We watched as at least one hundred happy people danced to a man in a cowboy hat singing what sounded like Thai folk music. There was even a dance club showing people how to do a popular step. We saw old men playing traditional instruments, a blind singer with a beautiful voice who uses a portable keyboard for accompaniment, and a group of children playing 'tuned' bells. You had to be there.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the dogs have become co-conspiritors in mischief. They will stand next to each other, as if they're whispering, and then dash off and start eating little flowers. Daku has taken to trying to stop BamBam from barking in the house. He will run over to where she is and stand between her and the object of her barking. In spite of all their wild antics, they can be very sweet when they've had a good run.

Tomorrow we're signing up for a different internet provider. One can never tell exactly what will happen in a case like this, but the package is supposed to be faster than what we have, and even if it slows down a bit from what they claim, it will be better than what we have. Hmm.

Have a Great Week.


A student asked Soen Nakagawa during a meditation retreat,
"I am very discouraged. What should I do?"
Soen replied, "Encourage others."
Excerpted from Essential Zen

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style

Friday, October 1, 2010

Friday Funnies


I don't like to sound monotonous, but it was another gorgeous day in Chiang Rai. We cruised around downtown on foot, ran errands, and swam. It was a pretty cool day. The day was cool, the weather was hot.

Congrats to all the 'Funky Ones' who recognized "Dr. Funkenstein" by Parliament. They also record and perform as Parliament/Funkadelic. The man behind the madness, the Dr. himself, George Clinton. Now you know. 'Old School Friday' will be easy for a lot of you: "He walks in the classroom cool and slow. Who calls the English teacher Daddy-O? __ __, __ __. He's a clown, that __ __. He's gonna get caught, just you wait and see. (Why is everybody always pickin' on me?) Clue: This song is about a guy, who happens to have the same name as a cartoon character. This guy is older, and a real cut-up. The group had many novelty R&B hits. They still perform.

This morning we went into town, armed with a list. As we approached the car wash, Lisa suggested we pull in and get some coffee while we waited. It was going to be an hour wait so we went to Doi Chaang and got some coffee. While we were there we saw Kwan. She let us know the the chicken puffs were almost out of the oven. Those are Lisa's favorites. We read the paper, sipped our coffee, and a puff was consumed. Most of the errands we had were within walking distance so we went to the pharmacy warehouse, Boot's, and 7-11. We saw friends in the course of our travel and it gave the whole outing a special 'homey' feeling.

We got home in time for lunch. We still have more errands to run, but there's always tomorrow. On the way downtown we passed the 'Train Station' as they were about to have the dedication. The chairs were filled, and there was lots of activity around the site. We saw a sign that read: "Chiang Rai Railroad Library". Now we have to find out what that means. We think there will be a library inside the train, since there isn't a railroad in the area. More will be revealed. It's exciting either way.

Every day, after our nap, I take Daku out and he has this new ritual of rolling in the grass, and lying on his back just basking in the sun. He's also going into another phase of 'teendom' where he's being playfully defiant. It can be aggravating at times, but the other things he does make it all worth while.

We're about to go to the Night Bazaar. It's going to be fun going with someone who speaks Thai and knows lots of the people we know. The last time we went with Tye we learned a lot and got a few deals.

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd. Stay cool and enjoy the 'Funnies'.


Are You Hiring?

A woman walked up to the manager of a department store. "Are
you hiring any help?" she asked.

"No," he said. "We already have all the staff we need."

"Then would you mind getting someone to wait on me?" she said.

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style