Icebergs Ahead And Other Stuff

I did not sleep that well tonight. At 4:00AM I was wide awake thinking about work and the Cricket World Cup, whether I should sign up for the Phuket Half Ironman in November. You get the picture, the usual stuff anybody wide awake at 4:00AM thinks about. Fortunately, I fell back asleep only to have Rod Stewart’ Hot Legs wake me up at 5:45AM for my morning swim.

I need to explain , that the last few weeks have been a mixed weatherwise. One day it’s hot and humid, the next day is 14C (60F) and you desperately look for sweaters – heck yesterday it was so cold I wore a scarf and a sweater, I am not kidding….it’s amazing ho quickly a body “sissyfies” or how quickly “wimpyfication” occurs.

Anyway, I was on my way to the pool. I got in, the usual way – those who have seen me enter a pool know what I mean, those who haven’t please picture a heroic jump into the floods, NOT!!…it is always a production until I am in the water. So I had the water up to my waistline, when at the distal end of the pool I spotted what appeared to be an iceberg – an iceberg, I tell ya’ can you believe it? A goddamned f&^$^^#g iceberg in my pool in Bangkok. The water was so cold, we got about 60m in and that was all she wrote. But no I believe I am wide awake, I am also a bit loopy and I still see black and white only and have no sensation in my arms and hand, but I am awake.

Anyway, Cricket World Cup is on. Not that I care, but I have to care by osmosis, because my Engineers from India care and so does out tooling group (98% Indian). Yesterday, I gave my guys the afternoon off, because it was the mother of all epic sports battles: India vs Pakistan. One might say a proxy war. My engineers explained the significance of any athletic encounter between the two countries in the following way. “Someone will win and someone will lose. Which means that one nation’s players will be adored like Gods, while the Pakistani players need to find exile somewhere.” Wen I asked if this wasn’t a bit conceited. I heard back “Markus does gravity point away from the earth, it’ just not conceivable, because it isn’t possible!” How can you argue?!

Gear Shift, I am running my own little social experiment.  I ride elevators here pretty often – lots of tall high-rises. I enter press the button and then face with my back to the door, looking all the other people directly in the face. Do it, try it out. You will e amazed what reaction you will get – stay alert, you may have to block people swinging.

Finally, a few picture I took around the klongs and ponds during my lunch walks.

There are tons of blooming Lotuses where I work. But there are also there patches where plants grow that have bazillions of teeny-tiny little leaves.

A little more variety on the next one, yet, still beautifully abstract.

And to close today’s entry, a scene that reminded me of my childhood days as I spend these golden days of Summer down by the river (not in a van though and I am not  motivational speaker, either).

Be cool, not cold and always keep it real.

 

Yours shivering

Markus \m/

 

News From Bangkok

Hello all, to start with. No worries about the Japanese disaster here in Thailand. Not that what happened isn’t horrible and tragic, but we did not see anything bad here. We got a little bit of a swell in the golf of Bangkok, the Saturday after the earthquake – when I was kiting in Huahin…..

Radiation-wise I don’t know, since my iPhone does not have a Geiger Counter App – should come out any day now, I understand Apple is in the final approval phase.

Everything else is pretty normal here. Rainy-season stared early this year or so I have been told. I wanted to go to work yesterday and my usual route was flooded. Within less than one hour we had a solid 20cm (8in) on the street – I could have ridden my kiteboard to work….hm, now there’s an idea.

The old saying is true here in Bangkok: When it rains, it pours. The really nice thing about rain here is hat the rain is always warm, so you can’t really get into a bad mood when you – like I do frequently – go without an umbrella and get thoroughly wet.

Other than that, not a whole lot happening. In 2 weeks we have Songkran here, which means we have a few days off – that’s always good. We’ll see how we are going to seize the time. In the meantime, I want to show you the to elephants I walk by everyday on my way to work. Don’t get your hopes high, they are fake, but the way they are positioned makes me a little sad every time I walk by. The elephant has been for centuries the workhorse (pun, pun, pun) in Thailand, yet in modern Thailand elephants have become marginalized. There are few spot in the city – abandoned lots mostly – where elephants and owners spend their days in inadequate quarters. It’s a shame.

The the elephants here are sort of an example of what is happening to the real elephants in the city. Look at the dilated eyes and turtle feces on his back – clearly not cared for and they stand there everyday at one of Bangkok’s busy intersections of Ratchadaphisek and Sukhumvit.

By the way, elephant in Thai is Chang.

Alright, that is it for today – Take care.

 

Markus \m/

P.S.: Remember the entry about Suck Seed. Here;s the kicker. Suck Seed is a boy band, that has come out with a movie. Apparently the BTS advertisement I showed you and wrote about is in support of the movie. The movie’s target market is the Thai-female- early-teen…..aaaaaah. I can see the Tipper Gore and here gang going haywire when Suck Seed finally makes it over to the States. Them going all Helen Lovejoy* in front of TV cameras: “The children, the children, will somebody think of the children, please?!”. The name + the target audience = Controversy …..and not is a Guns’n’Roses-esque way.

* = Helen Lovejoy of “the Simpson” fame. Wife of reverent Lovejoy, the priest of Springfield’s non-denominational church.

 

Being The Shit

In January, I showed you an image of “the office” of a construction site manager. Well today, you will see “the office” of a construction site director. How do I know that he’s a director. Simple, he’s got an awning to give shelter from the sun and occasional rain downpour.

I love the way the management locations are always chosen at the edge of where work happens. But more importantly, management sits close to conveniences. The building behind the waning is a gas station with a convenience store and a coffee store and of course toilets. About 20m (66ft) away (towards us) is a row of street food vendors, that can provide nourishment all day long – fried food all day long. You can walk there without ever taking the eye off the “goings-on” on the construction site. A quick yell to the concrete pourers – for example – that they are filling the wrong hole is still manageable and totally conceivable, totally.

If I had a place like this at work, I’d occasionally yell out to the engineering pit:”Oi, Sitth, don’t use the Solid 185 elements, rather use the Solid 45s  – good man.”

Yes, that’s what I’d do….All Day Long. If you will, you could say “I’d Be The Shit.” just like the construction site managers.

Keep it real and be better

Markus \m/

Me And My Les Paul

Thursday, Slash came to Bangkok. Slash is my hero from my twenties. While I am myself not so much into drinking and drug use, I like the image and person he has created. Finally, a real Rock’n’Roller, who plays loud, dirty and with loads of emotion, blues based…that’s the ticket at least for me.

Slash came to town in support of his album “Rock’n’Roll” released in April 2010 (I might have posted a glowing entry last year on it). Anyway, the concert was as great as it could have been, considering that Slash has played in two of my favorite bands. Guns&Roses playing the soundtrack through my last two years of high school and college and then Velvet Revolver providing the sound track through the mid-2000s. Unlike the album, where he is collaborating with 17 different musicians – primarily vocalists, all songs were sung by Myles Kennedy, who also sings a song on the album. So, the poor guys was in a tough spot, namely to cover the vocal span from Iggy Pop to Fergie to Lemmy, not to forget of course the original GNR and VR singers. Considering that it was a great concert, that had for me personally more sentimental value.

Slash himself did not disappoint. Attired in black leather, top-hat and shades, he changed Les Pauls pretty much every song and beautifully played through the catalog of songs, Night Train to Beautiful Dangerous to Jis’ Da Pitt to Back To Cali to Rocket Queen. Of course the band also played Welcome to the Jungle and Paradise City to close.

Now, about the experience of going to a heavy metal / hard Rock concert in Thailand – learning opportunity. I ned to say, the best music fans are Europeans. Let me tell you why, before you keep rolling those eyes at me. In Germany (part of Europe), a rock concert has standing room only, none of that seated stuff like in the states. Hence the audience can release by moving, such as dancing, pogoing in the mosh-pit and just generally move a lot more worry free because there are no chairs or seats to fall over. Consequently, there is much more exchange between the band on stage and the fans. Plus we have rhythm, while I was a bit disappointed and later concerned in the at department with my fellow concert attendees from Thailand. Lots of motion, lots of passion, unfortunately little sense of rhythm. We had three, as metal fans styled twenty something old in front of us, that showed no rhythm (C’mon ho hard is it to sway left and right to “Patience” or pound your fist in the air to “Welcome To The Jungle” and finally for the more advanced fans to switch between the two for “Civil War”.) just follow the damn beat, not that hard.

I guess, the concert would have been even more fun, if I would have had an All Start team of like-minded people around me, such as Shawn (he’s a drummer, yes he has rhythm out the wazoo), Jon (always good to have Jon around and he has rhythm) Keefe (plays the bass, can groove and we’ve been to a few concerts together – good man) and finally Jeff (because he adores Slash and has rhythm). Then the spark might have actually jumped from the band to the audience, well at least to the five of us.

Finally, I need to say, that the security at the concert was “insane” absolutely no cameras, which meant I had to leave the camera at home. Cell phones we no problem, unfortunately a cell phone is only a back-up camera at best, hence the quality leaves a little to be desired. Anyway, I hope you have lived vicariously though this entry.

Rock on and focus on the beat dammit!

Markus \m/

 

More On A Boy’s Life

A few entries ago I wrote about keeping the young child, that you once were, active by listening to it and indulging it every now and then.

On my work to work I saw this kid representing the worry-free life, I remember from back then, so well. His mom has a coffee booth in the Ploenchit BTS station. Of course, I have also asked myself, why he wasn’t in school at 7:40 in the morning. But ten it occurred to me, that at least in Germany, the kids have a week off for carnival. While, I haven’t seen any kids playing “cowboys and indian” fully dressed up, I really hope, that this is the only reason he wasn’t in school – a week off from school for carnival.

Well, at least this part of being a young kid wasn’t so bad.

Markus \m/

Engrish Comic Relieve

Alright, here’s another blog entry. Bangkok is a very international city. If one speaks English there is not stopping  person of determination. But, English is a foreign language for the Thais and thus the occasional funny mistake happens. Similar mistakes happen to me when I speak Thai. For example my engineers always had a sort of mean smirk on their face, when I exclaimed “Yaad Yom” in Thai which means excellent. Now the two words sound very similar and I have had a hard time remembering it correctly, often telling people “Yood Yam”. Yood Yam is the Thai equivalent of “Dearly beloved” and not just misses the point I wanted to make, but is also very funny in the context. The first few times people looked at me funny, now they just break up in laughter. For those of you, who may look it up, I am not sure whether I mixed them up again.

Anyway, again off on a tangent. The BTS system has got new advertisements hung in all stations. And the first time I saw them I had to do a double take and then just laugh, amused by the endless different avenues for a joke this advertisement presented.

I am not kidding, what looks like someone wrote on the ad is actually part of the ad. The next image shows the official logo – of all thing its a heart, too.

Suck Seed – are we advertising Oral Sex. Do the three fine young gentlemen suggest that the seed sucking should take place among multiple people of a common gender. I also can’t help but wonder what the 40 might mean. Questions – Questions – Questions.

Remember in my last post, when I admitted, that I love reconnecting with my 5-year-old self. Well, apparently there is also a bit of my sixteen year old self in me, because he wrote most of the article – especially the deep reflection about the meaning of the ad.

 

Cheers

Markus \m/