Survive first week back in Bangkok, check!

That’s right folks, I’m still alive and ready to take on week two now.

My bicycle on a pedestrian bridge overlooking a busy Ngamwongwan Road in central Bangkok. Photo: Steven Layne

My bicycle on a pedestrian bridge overlooking a busy Ngamwongwan Road in central Bangkok. Photo: Steven Layne

Wait, when, what? Back in Bangkok? …Rewind for a brief explanation of the title of this post. I realize anyone following this blog, but not following me on social media, may be caught by surprise.
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Sign petition against romanticizing rape on Thai soap operas

Cleaning out his inbox this evening (July 29, 2016), The Siamerican came across an email from Change.org publicizing an ongoing campaign targeting violence and rape on Thai soap operas. (Scroll to bottom for link to sign an online petition to stop prime time Thai TV portraying rape as ‘normal behavior’)

A rape scene, which is not too uncommon on Thai TV.

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[VIDEO] Experiment: Attaching a surfboard to inflatable kayak hull to improve rigidness, ocean performance

After acquiring a cheap, used short-board online, I got the idea to try and improve my inflatable kayak’s on-water performance out off Phuket’s shores, by attaching the surfboard to the bottom of the kayak’s hull, which is a nylon shell wrapped around an inflated bladder, reinforced with buoyant, rigid material inside. (Scroll down for video).

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Happy Songkran 2559: Thai New Year 2016

It’s been a while since I updated this space, but better late than never. Any who, today, Wednesday, April 13 marks the traditional Thai New Year – Songkran Day. Many folks throughout the Kingdom of Thailand today are out and about cooling off, taking part in water fights, splashing about on the streets, if not taking a dip in the rivers or oceans. Not me, though. I’ll head out to have dinner and drinks with family later, but all day I’ve been at home playing with my inflatable kayak, figuring out how I will attach a used surfboard I picked up, along with a center piece, or perhaps a transom, that I can attach an electric trolling motor to eventually.

When that project progresses, I shall update you here. Meanwhile, here’s a gallery of a recent day out with a few friends, each in their 60s: A super healthy lunch with Chef Barry Anderson and radio colleague Marque Rome, followed by a trip to visit a Thai Friend, Khun Jieb, at Makham Bay on the southeastern part of the island, who lives with a sea otter.

Stories are being written about this day, and will update y’all at a later date.

 

 

[VIDEO] ‘Closet scientist’ update: avocado aquaponics and pedal power

Regarding the title of this post, my friend and colleague Marque Rome the other day called me a “closet scientist” when he came over to my pad the other week to record some jingles for the radio. He was referring to all the projects I had going on and the general disarray of my apartment/garage scattered with tools, wires, boxes and gadgets. Continue reading

Dream: Motor pulleys and an inaccessible Chinese shop house attic

Below is a recap about a dream I had last night/this morning, recording it quickly before I forget:

Dreaming of eerie steps leading up to some mysterious floor. Pictured is the last stairwell Vincent Van Gogh saw in his life. Photo: John Kolter

Dreaming of eerie steps leading up to some mysterious floor. Pictured is the last stairwell Vincent Van Gogh saw in his life. Photo: John Kolter

Was with my significant other and son, and we were on some type of trip via car. We stopped in front of a pair of Chinese shophouses, where I noticed a box of used motor parts out front. I’d been seeking a motor pulley for one of my projects (that I’m actually seeking in waking life), but the pulleys were not quite the right size, a little too big. So, I went inside the shop house and was pointed to the back, where I came to a service desk and a Thai Chinese man. I told him I wanted the smallest motor pulley they had, in Thai I told him “Ao Feuang Kup Sai Paan Lek Tee Soot” เอาเฟืองขับสายพานเล็กที่สุด and he pulled out one that was just too small for what I needed, so I asked for a bigger one, and he pulled out another, which was closer to what I needed and I asked him if he had another one bigger than that, to which he said he didn’t, so I settled for the one, to which was only some B30. Then upon returning to the car, I somehow ended up following my significant other and the boy into the next Chinese shop house, which was eerily empty, and had multiple floors, They rushed up the stairs to the top, and I chased them. We must have gone up five or six floors, all empty, coming to the top, there was one more flight of stairs, to one final floor but the stairs were awkwardly placed just away from the final floor’s access on the ceiling. The other two manuevered into the final floor without any issues, but it was too unstable and dangerous for me. I hesitated, and could hear my boy saying how great it is up there. If I tried to manuever into the awkward, narrow opening, there was a good chance I’d lose balance and fall. I was unable to join them.

VIDEO: How I recycled 100 percent of my consumer waste from three months

Yes that’s right, as the title of this post suggests, I didn’t throw away, burn or improperly dispose of any of my consumer waste over the past three months. I simply collected it all, ensured it was dried and separated general categories (plastic, paper, batteries, glass, tin, aluminium, etc), and then finally, threw the bags all in the back of my “trar” (truck-car) and head to Phuket’s largest recycling depot, Wong Panit, where I sold it all to them and made 200 baht, or about US$ 5.60 by today’s exchange rate.

Recycling depot

While money is not the main motivator in making this trip, it demonstrates a better alternative to paying someone else to bury or burn our waste, or worse, improperly disposing it into the environment. The video below covers the depot trip, and there will also be an article in the local newspaper about this particular trip, so stay tuned.

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VIDEO: Visiting the barbershop in Phuket, Thailand for haircut, shave

In Thailand, there are two places you can go to get a haircut: Barbers and Salons.

barbershop visit Thailand

While the latter are generally servicing females who want their hair washed, perms and dyes, they will also service men who want a hair-wash and hair cut, but will typically cost twice as much if not more, than your standard barber (Dtud Phom Chai ตัดผมชาย) which unlike salons, will also shave you. Below is a video of my recent visit to a typical Thai barber, this one is in the Sam Kong neighborhood of Phuket Town. Continue reading