31 December 2010

New Year’s Eve 2010/2011

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31 December 2010. I’ve been reading and enjoying yet another Dan Simmons novel, this one a horror story named Children of the Night (1992). It takes place mostly in the immediate chaos of post-Ceausescu Romania, and the horror a reader experiences here is not just from the vampires but also the horrors revealed of the recent communist regime there. The astounding occurrence of HIV among babies in state orphanages in Romania in the Ceausescu-era communist state; the remaining thuggish legacy of the socialist police state; it is all chilling. Add to this the local lore of Dracula, aka, Vlad Dracul Tepes (The Impaler) – is he a historical figure now long gone for centuries, or is he truly Undead? Some of the best historical research on Dracula is evident.
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People watching: I’ve been sitting outside in the shade watching people cross the small nearby intersection of sidestreets (aka, sois). From my hideaway spot, I can view the soi without being seen easily. A lurker in the afternoon shadows.
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I will have to declare myself on the side of the Stoics when it comes to basic human nature: i.e., people make up one huge universal family (aka, a “universal brotherhood of man”). Although I am profoundly retarded when it comes to learning foreign languages, I can still observe the obvious universal human behaviors. Groups of kids and adults here still show typical group behavior, e.g., leaders/followers, slackers/hard working entrepreneurs, good faith/bad faith, confidence/un-sureness. Loners/Lone wolves.
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I managed to catch a head-cold right after Christmas, and I’ve always thought the hardest colds to kick are the ones you catch in warm weather. My voice is still so bad that the cats scatter when I try to speak.
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It’s a nice afternoon, with temps not getting up above the 80sF, and the humidity is quite tolerable. Yet I still lit a mosquito coil and set it upwind of my chair. Biting critters still bite us every single day and night of the year, even now in our “winter.”
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I came back from a grocery run – the usual: ice, noodles, beer, plus a new fluorescent light bulb. The main soi is pretty quiet, because during this New Year holiday a lot of folks have left town to visit family in the provinces. Mass migrations, always with the worst traffic casualties of the year.
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I just saw one young family of 4 saddled up to go for a multi-day trip. They were all on one motorcycle, and the father and mother had small/medium backpacks and shoulder bags. First on the cycle was a little boy, sitting in front of his father and partially on the gas tank; then the father, driving the machine; then a little girl; and at the end was the mother, hanging on to the back of the seat. I felt sorry for the little girl because, sandwiched as she was between father and mother, she couldn’t see the scenery. Hope their trip goes well and they return safe.
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I was planning on reading more while sitting outside, but my music player has been playing some Miles Davis jazz, and that just makes me lean back and smile. With a big pint mug full of Chang Classic beer and ice, it’s all so Cool and Collected.
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Evening shadows are bringing in the more aggressive mosquitoes, so I’m going back inside. We will be back out for the fireworks.
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Happy New Year!
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-Zenwind.
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P.S. – Just logging on to send this, I received the bad news that Nomads pub, the great live music venue, is closing. There was always only a few of us there listening to fantastic music from acts such as The Soi Dogs Blues Band. So one shouldn’t be too surprised. Thais have been killing their tourist industry by frequent violence and puritanical alcohol laws, and the Euro and US Dollar have tumbled so far in exchange that one’s purchasing power is not what it used to be. The US$ has lost 1/3 of its value to the Thai Baht in the last few years. Thus, the good music venues have been drying up.
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