Time Travel To My Teenage Years

Remember last week, I snuck that paragraph in about the new Van Halen album. I expressed my skepticism, anxiety, fear of expectations not being met, fear of disappointment. Well, I have been sleeping better lately on that front, because I found a few videos on Vimeo, that reminded me why I loved Van Halen in the first place and why – being an eternal romantic – I have been hoping so much, that there be a reunion between the VH brothers and David Lee Roth. Alright, I will get over it, Michael Anthony is not there anymore. It will take some time, but I will.

What caused this change of heart is this: Here is a link to an awesome rendition of “You really got me” which will be part of the DeLuxe Edition when the new album comes out on Feb. 7th 2012.

There are a few more videos of the band, but this one to me shows that Van Halen is still Van Halen. True, Van Halen has aged, Dave has no mane anymore and they will not be the Van Halen, that blew the late 70’s and early 80’s to smithereens. It will be a different band, but one I will still want to listen to, because the essence of Van Halen hasn’t changed. They will still kick ass.

I like what I see and hear in this video. I hope that the brothers and Dave have found a way to deal with each other, that will allow them to not let their egos get in the way of great Rock’n’Roll music.

Having said that, my plea to the band – however unlikely it is that they will actually ever visit my blog – “Don’t let me down! Don’t F&^k it up! There are thousand of people like me out there having been loyal fans all these DECADES. We do not want to be disappointed. If you win us over, new generations will follow.”

Alright, people stay sharp

Markus \m/

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Chinese New Year – Enter, The Year Of The Dragon

Happy Chinese New Year. This year the Chinese are earlier than last year, which means to me that the last year was shorter by about 4 weeks or so. Anyway, that’s besides the point. The last year was the far of the rabbit, while right now we are entering the year of the dragon. And from a Westerner’s point of view a dragon sounds definitely a lot more exciting than a rabbit or bunny. So, I am looking forward what the year will bring.

At work some of my Thai co-workers have seen fortune tellers – I will not pass judgement on the idea of consulting a fortune teller – and essentially their productions sound like those of Sybille Trelawney of Harry Potter fame:”I see great destruction and bad fortune. The floods are going to be even worse.”, etc.

I started off CNY by going to Chinatown and looking around the area I call “Gear Wheel Alley” – the place where cars are taken apart – well because I think it is the coolest place in all of Chinatown.

A back alley in Chinatown. WHen I stroll through here, I del like I am in a Jackie Chan movie – glass shattering any moment and people flying though windows.

This is the flyer that slapped allover Chinatown in Bangkok. It says something like: “Hello fellow country man, please join the festivities to welcome the New Year – Chinese Style. Help us welcome the year of the dragon. It’ll be totally awesome and we are going to party like it’s the year of the rooster. There is no excuse to not partake in the merriment of the festivities, since we will be partying for 7 days and night – making the backstage area at a Mötley Crüe tour look like a local Boy Scout Meeting. So, chop, chop, chop Dingusses, sees you in the stree-aaaights!” It was most amazing to me to read through this, especially the very casual verbage Mandarin allows to extend a new years party invitation. I also had no idea, that the Chinese call each other Dingus – frequently even – or that Tracy Morgan talk had found its way into the Chinese pronunciation – always learning.

Anyway, moving on to the cars of Chinatown. A sad old Leyland buried under all kinds of s.h.i.t. (no god-damn swearing and coursing in the G blog).

The car looks to me like someone squeezed in a very tightly packed elevator or like a passenger on the 7:33am BTS train leaving Asok for PloenChit. Your nose pressed against the window, you are balancing on one foot standing caddywompus while you desperately hold on to your bag which itself is wedged between three little Thai ladies five people away.

Anyway, the next shot is a “butt shot” of the Fiat, I showed last year in May. At this point I must correct myself. Upon closer examination of my cousin – who spent his childhood years in the back-bench of a Fiat 500 – this is not a Fiat 500. Instead it is a seldomly seen Fiat 600 – not a 650, either, but truly a very rare Fiat 600.

The last eight months let the car age quite a bit. The humidity in particular caused something that looks like algae-growth on the rear fender. Still, despite it’s desolation and abysmal condition, it radiates more character than a Kia or Hyandai or Chevy ever will – sorry if I stepped on someone’s toes. But you need to keep in mind, that anything a German says about cars is like the word of god personally.

Okeydoke, we have that out of the way. This leaves us with only one thing – the closing moment of Zen.

Contemplate how the chain symbolizes the force that squeezes the unfocused present between an infinite past and an equally infinite future.

Serenely Yours

Markus \m/

It’s Been A While

Hello All,

yes it’s been a while since my last entry. The main reason for that is that a while is so conveniently and comfortably ambiguous. And that a while always seems long, but in reality I just zoomed by – phoomp, there you have it, one while of almost three weeks (see almost is ambiguous)…..oh, oh, oh, before I forget and my parents have been visiting – exactly, that’s where the while went. Anyway, enough philosophizing about the duration of a while and onwards. Work has me again and the next trip seems like forever away. But we do enough local travel here as well.

A few weeks ago we went to a floating market somewhere towards Pattaya – I didn’t drive myself, so I only have a very vague idea she the place was. But it was nice. It was January first and I got a few nice and mellow shots.

This is a stairway into the klong near the floating market. I loved the sky’s reflection in the water and the banner with the flags as well. Wit the water as undisturbed as it is, the image is just calming to me.

I feel similar about the image with the ladder going into the water – calming.

And now for something completely different. On Wednesday evening I was on iTunes minding my own business. On the opening page to the iTunes store there was the pre-order window for a new Van Halen album. In best Van Halen manner, they had to F&^$ it up, because Eddie got all paternal and replaced the original bass player and background vocal Wunderkind Michael Anthony with his 20-year-old son – why, why oh why? Anyway, David Lee Roth is back, sans the mane and dressed. It has been 28 years since the “1984” album came out and provided the opening tunes of the sound track to my forming puberty years. To this day, I think that the intro to “Hot For Teacher” is just the best ever. Drums that sound like a Hot-Rod and Eddies finger tapping, it does not get any better for me. But I digress, so they have a new album they old like to sell to old nostalgics like myself. But, I am not sure thy are off to a really good start. The pre-released single is an old hat from the early days – more or less. It’ got drive, but it cannot not connect to the era, that started in 1977 and ended in 1984. Schmuck that I am, I will buy the DeLuxe version for two bucks more on iTunes, just so I have the photo liner and then sit back, hoping and waiting to get wowed and completely blown away. It will definitely warrant an entry, I really hope it’s going to be a good one. I think the album is available on Feb. 6th 2012 – 3 more weeks.

Moving on – Thank you for your patience. I have a few more images to show you of “The City Of Angels” – not Los Angeles, but Bangkok, too, is called the City of Angels. So here you go.

Living the good life – ’nuff said.

“Not again”, you may think. But, yes i have been on top of the world again. Every time I am up there it is different. Visibility was weird, because visibility was good for a four kilometer radius around me and then everything just vanished in the haze. Here’s another image, that look so the south-west in Bangkok – towards the big K-Bank building.

And, totally finally your moment of Zen, that we all need so desperately. A tree in Chinatown, wrapped in ribbons to keep the spirits inside the tree – wouldn’t want to have them all float around “oohing” and “aaaahhing”, wouldn’t we?!

Trying to keep it real and staying sharp.

Yours Markus \m/

Closing On The Floods

The days before 2011 came to a close, I did what a lot of people do, I cleaned up and cleared out. Since, nowadays we have not only a physical world but also a digital world to deal with, I chose to clean that one out first. And I stumbled across a bunch of images that I had intended to put on the bog, but never did – and likely never will.

One image however, I think will serve as a nice closure for the floods this country here has endured. I took it on December 15th 2011 while talking a stroll during lunch break.

Yes, something as mundane as a flip-flop stuck into hard-baked mud, that made a dam around my company and prevented the buildings from being flooded. Yes we can rebuild, but disasters always keep something, like tho flipflop of a construction worker

The flop is basically gone. People are putting their live back together. Apparently a few areas near Nawanakorn are still flooded a little, but by and large the flood is over.

And so is Winter in Bangkok – of course the locals would disagree with me on my statement. We have had about two weeks without the AC on, two weeks where a westerner could walk the streets of Bangkok and not be soaked wet within 10 minutes. As of this morning, I am in sweating mode again. Not “full pour”, yet, but we will get there – I will let you know more after tomorrow’s early morning run. As nee as the drop in temperature and humidity has been, it also made our pool very cold. Similar to last far, I had to swim through chunks of packeis and push bare-chested the occasional eisberg out of my lane….at last that’s what it really felt like.

Not much more to write today, so, I bid you Adieu (as the French say) and leave you with a :”Stay Sharp Dear Readers”

Yours Markus \m/

Out With The Old: 2011 – In With The New: 2012

Alright, so there it is. The year is really over – in fact the new year is already 14 hours old. I feel like in a time warp. Time seems to get shorter and shorter and less and less. It’s insane. Then again, as I said a few entries ago, we have done a lot and seen even more last year.

Time passed so quickly, that I am now betting to post the original Christmas image I had planned for 2011. I took it at a Starbucks in Tokyo. I was waiting for a hot chocolate and read this as the barista was making it for me. At first, I felt propositioned. But before I could reject, what I thought would have been a sweet offer, I re-read correctly and just said:”Thank you” for the cocoa.

Either way, 2012 will hold all sorts of surprises for al of us, some good, some bad so let’s see what’s what.

Among the things got for Christmas was a Book about all Unesco Wold Heritage Sites from my in-laws. The book is a mixed blessing. On one hand it is a fantastic resource to plan trips or just awe yourself about nature and our forefathers drive and achievement. On the other hand it reminds me of how short a life is – as in so many things to see, so little time. Anyway, we are looking at the glass as half-full and see what we can, while we can.

For new years wishes, I wish all of you who I don’t know and who I have never met, yet you read my blog a Happy New Year and happiness, contentedness and success throughout the year 2012. Regarding any prophecies doomsday sayer may have made, I do NOT believe the world is coming to an end. At least not because of external divine intervention. If the world comes to an end, it’s because we somehow managed to really f… up. When I look at the world, it is conceivable that it feels like the end is near, but I believe, that as humans we have will and a brain, we can reason and we can make the right decisions, even if they are tough. The individuals making up oppressive regimes have the ability to reflect, that torture, famine, living in ruins is not a state of desirability. As a rule of thumb – and I do not consider myself a Christian – “Do Unto Others As You Would Have Done Unto You” provides good direction. The majority of people do not enjoy being raped with a cattle prod or having their testicles stimulated with a car battery, really, they don’t!

So having said that, again I wish all of you the very best for each and every hour of this coming year.

To this who know me, I wish the following in addition to the above:

  1. Shaun and Emily: Nerves of steel.
  2. Jeff and Annie: Nerves of steel and the continued ability to sustain with little sleep as well as strong arms for Jeff and the generosity to shovel snow for us please. Thanks, you’re a good man AND a scholar!
  3. Sarah and Nick: all the time to enjoy your great families and a week or two to come visit again.
  4. Trish and Earl: Definitely a week to come visit again.
  5. My “Lufti”-mates: that we may meet again in 2012 and reminisce on how old we’ve become. Continued success and safety to Andi and Jones on their supervised tinkering program.
  6. My former workout buddies and friends in MN. Keep skiing (while you have snow) and then keep biking Murphy Hanrahan.
  7. Alec: Keep teaching and inspiring your students. I can imagine it’s draining, but the education system needs people like you.
  8. My parents, in-laws and remaining family simply all the best and the time and strength to summon the courage to come visit us in Bangkok.
  9. Our friends Ralph and Petra the courage to generate pro-formas, the time to research the market and then a retail market entry with a big ka-boom, because they do have the products that make you salivate: Chocolates, Fine Coffees, Olive Oils, Balsamico Vinegars, Wines, Cookies and all sort of other fines foods imported from Italy. In addition to that coffee hardware (machines and grinders) that make an engineering heart dance lots f chrome and stainless steel – manly stuff that goes drip-drip-drip and tssssss-sch, to make the finest coffee beans based drinks.

And that’s that.

Stay sharp, the year is young, make the best of 2012 will throw your way.

Markus \m/