idle thoughts

  • Cement is a commodity, like oil and sheanut, meaning in times of no demand the price can theoretically fall to zero. At the moment a bag costs about 114 baht. The girls in Cementhai (Siam Cement) have a board with the daily prices behind them. Blimey.
  • Maybe it's pointless to speculate what you'd be like if you were a builder, but I don't see why you wouldn't take at least a bit of pride in your work, or be driven to get the day's work out of the way simply so you can go home. Admittedly I wasn't unlike these three-year olds until about five minutes ago -- workshy, basically -- but now that I'm not I immediately have nothing but contempt for the attitude. That constant dragging, sagging feeling you get when you've left things half done, or do them badly...
  • Bring Me the Hod of Alfredo Garcia (not my joke). Is that even a hod?
  • You get a different class of expat in Prakanong (I'm not saying worse, but that's what I mean). Down here in our 'creative' community of five we're bobbing like apologetic corks on the waves and grinning like monkeys with humility, mumbling under our breath, but there it's all failures and English teachers, so as you walk down the street the interchangeable white men's eyes drill into you as who should say what are you doing on my sorry patch? and they shoulder past you with an attitude quite incommensurate with their station. But what of it? A change is as good as a break.
  • Stupid pictures (an occasional series). The entire website is well worth a look: a vast, laboriously bilingual compendium of information without any value whatsoever. 'Also of interest is just going straight north over the Petchburi flyover. That way, you connect to a main north-south thoroughfare. It is also the source of a significant amount of traffic on Ekamai.'
  • A long tangent, but this is quite interesting as reclaiming crap for habitation goes.
  • Save us from Asian received wisdom: Korean translators who think every phrase needs the corpse of an old verb in it, so that all meetings are 'held' and all buildings 'located', and electricians who, if they remember nothing else from electrician school, remember that the plugs must be 30 cm above ground, lest they be inundated in the third-floor flash floods we hear so much about.
  • 'There is always shame,' writes Rachel Cusk, 'in fashioning an object for the public gaze.'
  • Superstition is an insidious poison. The neighbour's mother-in-law (actually another neighbour's wife) said I have to beg the tree spirit for forgiveness for cutting it. Pah, you think, but then of course if something goes wrong... It's like that, living with members of the farming community, before you know it they've boxed you in with mumbo-jumbo so tight you can't move. Still, my view is that I've done the tree a favour, I've squeezed its pimples and cut its hair, it'll breathe easier from now on, we're quits.