As I've said before, Bangkok is an interesting city, but it ain't a very pretty city. It has pockets of beauty, sure, but the cement:vegetation ratio is absurdly off-kilter. However, that's not to say you can't get inspiration from Bangkok's varied fabric, crazy infrastructure, and unique personality. Indeed, one might even say that - with the mix of smells, noises, sights, and people - Bangkok is a very colorful city, which got me to thinking...musicians, artists, and authors have been inspired by this for centuries, so why can't it inspire its own colors?
As a blogger in Bangkok, sometimes you get invited to events that run the gamut from huge to intimate, celebratory to somber, memorable and forgettable. I rarely go to these, usually due to a combination of being lazy and busy (I'm complicated), but a few weeks ago I was invited to an event by a company that was both familiar - hearkening back to my childhood - and vague, in that it wasn't a company you'd expect to be throwing shindigs: Ricola.
Anyone who has spent any time in a Thai 7-11 has probably seen those little bottles of…drink…stuff. Everything from bird’s nests to collagen to essence of things. They’re peddled on television, usually by alarmingly young women wearing tight clothes who seem to be having just a wonnnnnnderful time hanging out and laughing together. Anyway, every time I walk by there seems to be another type of colorful little box, so I decided to find out what the hell they were. Also, it’s a long weekend and I have a new baby, so I’m stuck at home. Don’t let it […]
I never really knew much about the power of data until I started working in my current job, where we analyze data to find patterns and trends. It’s kind of like the global financial system – you don’t really notice it until you’re exposed to it, and then the rabbit hole just gets deeper and deeper. Some find this manipulation of data creepy, some don’t care, but it’s interesting either way. So just for fun, I wanted to see what people were searching for when they wanted information on Thailand, so I started typing half-sentences into the search box to […]
If I were to stand up in a crowd and say “Thai food is the best food in the world,” I probably wouldn’t get too many people telling me I’m wrong. Thai food is awesome, and anyone who says otherwise is evil. But every once in a while, I get a strong craving for a good taste of home, and nothing says “Alberta farm boy” like a good ol’ fashioned sandwich. Or sammich, as I prefer to call them. Bangkok has some pretty badass sammich places, but nothing says homemade like…uh, homemade. So, during a weekend where I didn’t […]
Whenever I’m feeling depressed or bored, or simply haven’t laughed in a while, I always turn to standup comedy to cheer me up. Despite the message I got from a clueless guy tonight who thought the goofy SCUBA mask on my header meant I didn't care about any of the flood victims, I think now is a perfect time to have a bit of a laugh - after all, the ability to laugh in even the most dire of situations is one thing the Thais are known for, right? Anyway, with a kabazillion cubic meters of water bearing down on Bangkok and the mood of the city best described as ‘moribund’, I thought it would be a good time to start a series of posts I’ve been thinking about for a while in which I profile a certain comedian that I like. A bit more of my thoughts on comedy and my first comedian below.
From time to time I have extra time, and those are the times when I start thinking about stuff that I don't normally have the time to think about. Most of those times are in the back of taxis or watching the city zoom by underneath the BTS, so I think about the makeup of Bangkok a lot. I'm also a giant nerd, so I have eclectic tastes, and sometimes those two things mash together and I end up wondering what I'd do if Bangkok/Thailand/Asia/the World was overtaken in a zombie apocalypse. One of the things I love watching about zombie movies is seeing how the people survive - where they hide out, what they do, how the protect themselves - so I thought I'd write down a few ideas as to what I'd do if I found myself alone in Bangkok when the dead started to walk the Earth. This post is pretty esoteric and a bit long, so only read on if you're a fan of zombies, a fan of Bangkok, or a fan of both.
As a writer, I have come to kind of adore the maddening twists and turns of my mother tongue (uh, English). While I would never proclaim to be anything more than average at writing, I do have an extreme fondness for the dark corners and covert flexibility of the language. For instance, I am able to rattle off both pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis and floccinaucinihilipilification without pause, but look to George Carlin as somewhat of a patron saint instead of Shakespeare, Milton or Chaucer (you'll see why below). At any rate, one of the things I like to read is poetry, but I'm not very good at writing it. That's why I found it interesting when I had the thought of writing a blog post about "Bangkok's A to Z" what I started writing came out as a poem. So I decided to run with it...
While browsing the local Kinokuniya the other day - in my humble opinion, the best English-language bookstore in Bangkok - I came across a couple of gems that I knew I had to put on my website. There's a famous old saying in Thailand that in a marriage, a man is the front feet of an elephant and the woman is the back feet; they are both responsible for support, but the front feet lead. (I often joke that in my case, I'm the front feet and the back feet, and my girlfriend is the guy who sits on top and beats me with a pointed stick, but I digress). At any rate, the battle of the sexes certainly isn't a foreign concept here, and although these books are written with a western relationship in mind, I'm curious as to how a Thai would view them.
As I get older, I start to wonder about my past. Not because I forget what I did yesterday (although that's a bit hazy thanks to tequila); I mean my PAST - my genetic history going back thousands of years. Ever since DNA (more commonly known as deoxyribonucleic acid... or is it the other way around?) was isolated in 1953, it's given us an incredible tool to do everything from trace lineage to clone steak. My curiosity might have been piqued because I live in such a racial melting pot, where discussions of nationality, race and ethnicity come up all the time. So, I decided to head over to the National Geographic Genographic Project to see what they could tell me about me.