Tuesday, March 31, 2009
"Are they both alive," Mike said."Kick it see if its alive."
I pushed the toe of my shoe into one of the bugs. It didn't move. The other swayed its attenae and moved slightly.
"I think that one of them is dead and the other is feeding on its carcass," Stephen said.
"That's fucked up," Mike said.
"Look here come the ants to feed on the corpse," Stephen said. A row of ants marched along to the dead cockroach hoping like the living thriving larger insect to gain a meal. The living cockroach dragged the dead one a little bit on the tarmac to escape the scavenging ants. "What do cockroaches eat?"
"I think they eat anything," Mike said.
"I always see them late at night in the kitchen but they're not eating any food they're just scurrying around. I don't think they really like eating human food."
"Maybe they're content to just eat whatever is on the floor," Mike replied. "The other day when it rained a lot and the streets flooded there were cockroaches floating on the water."
"Were they alive," I asked joining the morbid conversation. Cockroaches always remind me of Franz Kafka. His story "metamorphisis," is about an office worker who wakes up one day as a gigantic insect. His consciousness disolves into that of a primitive insect while his folks are burdened with his care much to their chagrin. Often the insect is depicted as a cockroach. Every time that I see a cockroach I think of office workers and Kafka.
"I wonder if you can cook cockroaches," Mike said.
"Like in the microwave," Stephen asked.
"Yeah, I guess so. You'd probably want to put them in a glass bowl, with some saran wrap on top. Maybe a couple of them. See how long it takes for them to blow up."
"Probably only a minute or two. I wonder what would happen if you put them on the defrost mode, or popcorn," Stephen said.
We all laughed and continued our walk down the dark soi to our house.
Monday, March 30, 2009
"What are you watching," he asked.
"Ong Bak 2. Its pretty terrible," I said.
"Yeah, its in Thai but I get the feeling we're not missing much important dialogue. There's been two conversation scenes in the movie," Stephen added.
"In his last movie, Tony Jaa had two lines in the entire movie. 'Protect my elephant, protect my elephant!'"
I laughed and when the movie was over with its confusing ending we flipped on some sports. The sports channel has tons of boxing, k-1 fighting, and wwf wrestling. I've grown to enjoy the wrestling after watching "The Wrestler," starring Mickey Rourke. Rourke plays a down and out wrestle who struggles to make ends meet while his body fails him. Along with his physical decline is an inability to have long lasting emotions. He rages and flips out. Its a great movie.
Mike came in about a half hour into our lagging about and sat down. He opened up his dinner of morning greens, and rice and chowed away while we continued our light conversation.
"What does waffling mean," Stephen asked.
"I think it means loitering, but also with worrying conotations," I said.
"I thought it meant horse play. Like when you're at the pool and the lifeguard yells at you; 'Quit waffling about,' Mike said.
"I was reading from this book, I didn't prepare a lesson for my students and I came across the word waffle. It said that something like the politician was talking a lot, and being indecisive so he was waffling. I thought that, that wasn't right at all," said Stephen.
"Well he was waffling, loitering with his words, and his indeciveness caused worry. What's he gonna decide? I don't know! Oh god the anxiety," I said laughing.
"Yeah, or maybe he's flipping his decisions around causing horseplay with his speech," Mike chuckled.
"I mean 90% of the time to waffle means the breakfast items, so it doesn't really matter but I felt bad because I was teaching right from the book and the book was just wrong," Stephen lamented. He was obviously in a tight ethical situation. Would he give the students the correct answer tomorrow or stick to the curriculum.
"Has anyone ever eaten those waffles at the bts," I asked.
"I have. They're delicious. The street waffles are always so soggy," Mike said.
"Yeah, they are soggy," Stephen said.
"I need some syrup. Where do you think I could get some," Mike asked.
"Maybe at the Emporium grocery store," I replied. Images of waffles flooded my mind. Thick waffles with strawberries, schellacked in syrup with whipped creme on top. My mouth watered.
"Hey guys, I want to play some guy music for my show who do you think I should play," Jo jo asked. Jo Jo would be djing a Lady Gaga themed dance party at club culture on wednesday. We all planned on attending.
"Who are you playing," Stephen asked.
"George Michael," Jo Jo replied.
"That's pretty gay. Why don't you play some Iggy Pop," I said.
"No, he's too raw. What are some other guy bands that people like?"
"You could play 'The Cure,' or David Bowie," Mike said.
"I plan on playing 'Let's dance,'" Jo Jo said.
"What about New Order," Stephen said.
"Yeah, play 'Temptation,' that song is great."
"New Order is sort of gay," Mike said.
"I think they're ambigious. I mean, they're sort of gay but still a little straight," Stephen said.
"They're sort of like metrosexuals before there was a metro," I said.
Cut Copy is an Australian band. They sort of rip off New Order but are still pretty awesome.
1 /ˌwɒfəl/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [wof-uhl]
1. a batter cake with a pattern of deep indentations on each side, formed by the gridlike design on each of the two hinged parts of the metal appliance (waffle iron) in which the cake is baked.
2. Also, waffled. having a gridlike or indented lattice shape or design: a waffle pattern.
2 /ˈwɒfəl/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [wof-uhl] -fled, -fling, noun Informal.
–verb (used without object)
1. to speak or write equivocally: to waffle on an important issue.
–verb (used with object)
2. to speak or write equivocally about: to waffle a campaign promise.
3. waffling language
3 /ˈwɒfəl/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [wof-uhl] Show IPA
–verb (used without object), -fled, -fling. British.
to talk foolishly or without purpose; idle away time talking.
1695–1705; orig. dial. (N England); appar. waff to bark, yelp (imit.) + -le
Sunday, March 29, 2009
The trip to Pattaya took about 3 hours. From the Pattaya bus terminal we rode in a songthaew (a pick up truck/local bus) to the Ambassador Hotel. The hotel complex is huge with three wings and a gigantic pool. Around the chlorinated waters were big Russians that looked like beached whales. They hung about the waters, lounging on chairs while baking themselves and their grotesquely tiny speedos. My sense of cultural relativity always goes out the window when I'm in Pattaya.
We rode down the beach, and spoke of whoring instead of going to the rock festival. The Thailand Rock Festival held on a military base outside of Jomtien (a town south of Pattaya) would be a two day event. The festival would have a number of popular bands, of whom I particularly wanted to see "Slur," and "Modern Dog."
We arrived at the festival around 6pm and hung about the Channel V tent for a bit gourging ourselves on free food and liquor. The generous people of Channel V had given Mike extra tickets, and Joy and I libations and nourishment. Along with vegetables and rice I also ate some french fries, and som tum acquired in the "food court." One of the great things about thailand is that where there are Thai people there is food. We hung about then checked out the Rock Stage. The stage was large and had several big screens to watch the action on stage. We sat on the sand for a while then went over to the beach stage which was smaller and had reggae/ska bands playing. The first band we took in was called T-Bone and no, it was not a rap band. Instead it was a second wave ska band whom the Thai kids really seemed to enjoy. We watched the band play and danced a little bit then went over to see Slur.
Slur is one of my favorite Thai rock bands. They're hip, they sound good, and the bassist opened up with a riff to a Joy Division song which automatically gets my approval. Before we got to see Slur we had to sit through and awful band called Crescendo who Mike labeled as "Trashy southern california 90s grunge rock with metal influences," or something akin. I hated them and the awful MCs who presided during the down times. The MCs screeched into the microphones and kept yelping out "nnnaaaaaggggggllllllluuuuuaaaa!!!!! (frightening)
At some point in the evening Mike and I demonstrated some hardcore dance moves for Joy (she's a brit). My recent haircut and dress have made me look like a 90s hardcore kid and so we wanted to show her "The lawnmower," "The floor punch," "The spinning windmill," and "Picking up change." I was able to do the dances awkwardly never practicing them much on the dancefloor. Wong was a bit better but more pensive about engaging in embarassing American antics.
Slur came on and played for about 45 minutes. They were a good stage presence and blasted through their songs.
After Slur we went over to the beach stage where we caught some of Groove Rider, a disco funk band. They were so so and killed some time before we got to see Modern Dog. Modern Dog's lead singer had a great stage presence and made the crowd scream with glee despite the late hour (it was almost 2am by the time they played). They played all their hits and ended their set with "Gon" one of my favorite songs and something that will garner the envy of my peers in Thai language school back at the Wat in Berkeley.
WE got back to the hotel around 4 am and I washed off my dirt tanline. I think that I'll have sand in my shoes for a while.
Thursday, March 26, 2009
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger flew to Oakland Sunday directly from Washington, D.C. to meet with Mayor Ron Dellums and acting Chief of Police Howard Jordan one day after four police officers were shot and killed.
John Hege remains on life support, but was pronounced brain dead just before noon Sunday. He was waiting to be an organ donor.
The meeting with the governor will be private and he is not expected to make public comments. Schwarzenegger's spokesman says the governor will offer support and pay his respects.
Also Sunday, a display of flowers is starting to grow at the Oakland police headquarters under a wall in tribute to police officers who have given their lives in the line of duty.
In all, five Oakland police officers were shot Saturday in two separate but related shootings.
Four officers were killed. A fifth officer suffered a minor gunshot wound.
The Oakland City Council and Mayor Ron Dellums will hold a vigil Tuesday night in honor of the fallen officers.
Never in the history of any Bay Area police department have so many officers been killed on the same day.
Oakland's acting Police Chief Howard Jordan, who has been on the job just a few weeks, made the grim announcement just after 9 p.m. Saturday.
Jordan said, "This is not something I expected to do in my career at all."
Also in attendance was Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums, and state Attorney General Jerry Brown.
Dellums said "It's in these moments that words are extraordinarily inadequate. We come together in shock, in grief, in sorrow."
The four officers have been identified as 41-year-old John Hege, 40-year-old Mark Dunakin, 43-year-old Ervin Romansa and 35-year-old Daniel Sakai.
Hege and Dunakin were traffic cops shot in the first incident.
Romansa and Sakai were members of the SWAT team who were shot in a nearby apartment two hours later..
The fifth unidentified officer who suffered a minor gunshot wound was hurt at the second crime scene. He was treated and released Saturday.
Police said the suspect, Lovell Mixon, 27, from Oakland, was on parole for assault with a deadly weapon. He had no-bail warrant for his arrest for violating parole. The Oakland Tribune reported Mixon had prior convictions in Alameda County for grand theft and possession of marijuana.
Police said Mixon wielded two different weapons. One gun was used at the first scene and an assault rifle was used at the apartment building where he was hiding.
Mixon's family spoke to NBC Bay Area Sunday. They said they were sorry for the families of the officers and added that there family was hurt as well. Mixon's sister said he brother was not a monster, adding that she thought he was probably scared.
"This is probably one of the worst incidents that has ever taken place in this history of the Oakland police department," Oakland police spokesman Jeff Thomason said.
The violence started with a traffic stop just two blocks from the Eastmont sub-station. You can actually see the crime scene from the substation parking lot.
The tragedy began when two motorcycle patrol officers pulled a driver over for a routine traffic stop in the 7600 block of MacArthur Boulevard just after 1 p.m.
Witnesses say the driver got out of his car and shot both officers before running away.
Another witness, who did not want be identified, told the Tribune he heard gun fire and then saw the officers laying on road.
The man told the reporter: "I went over to one officer and saw he was bleeding from his helmet pretty bad. The other officer was laying motionless."
The man said the officer laying near a car had two gun shot bullets near in his face. One bullet was lodged in his jaw and the other in his neck. The man said he gave the officer CPR until other police arrived.
A huge police presence immediately swarmed the scene.
Shortly after the first shooting, police said they learned the suspect was barricaded in a nearby apartment building. It was learned Sunday that the suspect's sister lived in the building.
Just after 3 p.m., at 73rd and Hillside SWAT teams entered the building in search of the man. A shoot-out followed with three additional Oakland SWAT officers being hit by gunfire. Two of those men died.
The suspect was also shot and killed.
All of the injured officers were taken to Highland Hospital.
A crowd gathered outside the hospital emergency room, including dozens of officers in uniform waiting for word on the condition of their fellow officers. Many were crying and hugging each other as they waited for word.
Back at the original crime scene people taunted police near the scene of the first shooting.
Tensions between the community and members of the police department has been high since the New Year's Day shooting of an unarmed man by a BART police officer. A protest following that deadly shooting lead to a violent and fiery protest in the streets of Oakland.
The former BART officer, Johannes Mehserle, has pleaded not guilty to a murder charge. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Monday.
The last Oakland officer who was killed in 2004, William Seuis, 39, died in a hit-and-run crash.
The last time Oakland lost two officers in one day was in 1974 when Gabe Guider and Wendell Troyer died in a helicopter crash.
A group of Oakland ministers also went to the hospital to offer prayers and condolences to the family members of the injured officers and the dozens of Oakland police officers who gathered there.
They used their pulpit on Sunday to urge their parishioners not to let the event tear the city apart.
Pastor Raymond Lankford, executive director of Healthy Oakland, urged people to show support for the officers and their families.
"What officers do, that's a tough job," Lankford said. "They need love, they need support. They need to know the community is behind them."
Attorney General Jerry Brown, who served as Oakland's mayor for eight years, said his office would support the officers any way it could.
"It's a city that does have its challenges with crime and violence, but the city will overcome this," he said. "It's been making tremendous strides, but there are thousands of criminals wandering around."
Brown said the state's parole system is in dire need of reform, including issuing GPS tracking bracelets to parolees.
Brown said he planned to step up his pursuit of these reforms as a result of the shootings.
Oakland City Council President Jane Brunner said the tragic events are a reminder of the dangers police officers voluntarily face in their efforts to protect the community.
"Our hearts go out to the officers' families and the pain they are in right now," she said. "This is a time for us to come together and support our police officers."
Brunner said acting Chief of Police Howard Jordan is meeting with the officers' families today. She praised Jordan's leadership throughout the deadliest events in the department's 157-year history.
The vigil Tuesday will be held at 6 p.m. at 74th Avenue and MacArthur Boulevard where the first shooting took place, Brunner said.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
I first became aware of anarchist politics through punk rock. Bands like, the Sex Pistols, with their faux situationist stance, and the anarcho punk band Crass would have a huge influence on me in high school.
When I went to college I met a ton of lefties and a few anarchists, although looking back there were fewer anarchists than I thought and more leftists. With boredom being a constant state of being I would often spend my time reading. I browsed through the stacks in the college library and read most of Paul Avrich's rich historical anarchist histories. Along with a steady diet of kroptkin, berkman, goldman, etc. I also began to read the works of the Situationist Internationale. I came across the S.I. through Ken Knabb's website; bureau of public secrets. While I couldn't immediately grasp the density of the S.I's critique of society as spectacle, there was a salience that I comprehended. I felt aliennated even though I was being tracked towards a happy life. School was boring, protests were boring, nothing was really happening. Despite my multitude of efforts to stir the pot most of my peers were content to continue doing workshops on privilege or complain about their other peers sexism. Eventually I was kicked out of school for being an "enrage."
Looking back I have mixed feelings, in some ways it was good in other ways I wish I had finished school. It really made a clear break for me personally with a lot of left politics. All the organizing I had done had never really helped me, nor helped me in my own personal problems. I left school dazed and confused. A few months later and I wrecked my personal relationships with the anarchists and leftists in my college town. (self) Jettisoned I moved to Santa Cruz california. There I first became acquainted with post-left ideas. Unlike most of my peers in college many of the kids on the west coasts were informed by the situationists. If we look at anarchism as having waves (akin to feminism having three waves, first being pro voting, second being radical feminsim, and third being whatever the fuck it is now) the situationist's critique marked a point where anarchism split into two waves, an older wave and a new wave. The kids on the west coast seemed to be engaged in that critique. I became more interested in the green anarchist critique of civilization and many of the works surrounding Anarchy magazine.
I began to attend a weekly reading group in Berkeley which despite its having many a wingnut helped me develop several important ideas. After a stint in Berkeley I moved to Vegas where there was nigh an anarchist and then moved back to Berkeley. I began to do reviews for Anarchy but my interest in anarchist ideas began to wane as I've become more involved in Muay Thai.
For me the anarchist scene on the west coast (and perhaps in the US in general) seems stagnant. There are some good publishing projects, but these are thankless tasks. There are few activities worth joining.
I think for me at this point being involved in anarchist politics is about exploring. Many of the tried methods of escaping this century have failed. Activism has failed. For me looking into muay thai and traveling to thailand is a way of keeping myself intellectually engaged with the world.
I suppose this is a little meandering. I haven't written in a bit and this is a topic that I was thinking about although not with much coherence.
Sunday, March 15, 2009
This fight was big for me. It was big because I fought at a major stadium here in Thailand. I remember standing outside of Lumpinee last year and thinking to myself; "That, that building there is the dream. Fighting inside of the building is my dream!" Maybe I didn't fight in Lumpinee but I fought in Rajadamnern which is basically equivalent as far as I'm concerned. Fighting there was a bit intimidating too. Far better boxers have been there and I was trying to come up to their place. I was the main event and I fought a tough opponent, despite my previous hopes of it being an easy fight it wasnt. I'm not really sure how I feel now, there's a sense of relief, but also there is still the ever present pain of the fight itself. Maybe in a week or so I'll want to do Muay Thai again. I'm not so sure before that.
"Whoever has reached his ideal transcends it precisely at that point." Nietzsche Beyond Good and Evil
"What makes one heroic? Going out to meet, at one and the same time, one's highest suffering and one's highest hope." Nietzsche The Gay Science
Friday, March 13, 2009
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
My shirt was wet with sweat and I worried for a moment about my persperiation but then I didn't care.
Monday, March 9, 2009
The party was held on some soi by the Phrom Pong BTS. Steven and I met up with Kev after having a beer and some fries at the ex-pat bar, The Dubliner. Kev was acting, hyphy, as usual. He consumes several large bottles of Coca Cola which supplements his ADD tendencies. Kev was hopping about on one foot anxious to get to the party to meet some Thai gash when we arrived. We walked down the soi that extended from Sukumwit. Kev blathered on about this and that, while I thought about how I needed to use the bathroom. We eventually made it to the small apartment in the bottom of a condo. We took off our shoes and entered the smoke filled den. The party was somewhat full with about 30 people in attendance. It was a mixture of Thais and ex-pats. There was a large table full of liquor and mixers. Kev and Steven quickly put themselves to the drink while I continued to drink my water. I watched the party slide through time as I passively sat in a chair. I stood up for a second and felt a burning sensation on my hand.
"Ow," I cried.
The woman who had burned my hand with her cigarette looked at me. "Oh, I'm sollee," she said. She then pointed at her cheek. "Here, here," she demanded. She kept pointing to the side of her cheek that was now turned towards me.
I was confused. What was she doing. Did she want me to kiss her cheek? She was the one who burned me. Was this some sort of weird Thai custom that I didn't know about. Wanting not to insult the young woman I kissed her cheek.
"Oh, ha! No I said look at this here," she said.
"Oh I thought you said kiss this here," I replied. I thought about apologizing but then decided to chalk it up to cultural differences. Besides it'd been a long time since I'd kissed a Thai girl.
Siam Paragon is a large bougerois mall in the center of Bangkok. After multiple attempts to try and find each other, Laura, finally found me at the edge of the food court standing by a composed and grinning Ronald McDonald. As hunger had gripped my stomach we walked through the food court into the Paragon grocery store. I picked up some sushi, spring rolls, and a bottle of water while Laura grabbed some sort of pad thai dish. We paid for our meals and sat down to eat.
Laura came out here a week ago from Canada. She lived and worked out there for a year after coming out here to Thailand. Her initial trip was a disaster. She broke her ankle and her back and was confined to a desk job in Toronto. Geared on Muay Thai she sold her record collection and all her posessions to come out here and train. For some reason we started talking about relationships...
"I dated a trainer up north for a while," she said. "He was nice and I liked him. Then he had to go to Bangkok for a few months so the relationship fizzled out. I was pretty bored up north. I couldn't really do anything as my ankle was fucked up. I started to hang out with another Thai fighter. He was okay. He drank a lot. When he fought he'd lose. His head just wasn't right. When the trainer came back up north he kept asking me how things were between the fighter and I. I told him the truth. They were okay but not that great. The fighter was drunk all the time and wasn't super nice. I guess my exotic appeal was wearing off. A week or two later they both started talking to me about a fight up north towards Chang Mai. They said they were both fighting. I was excited to see them fight so I went up there. When the bell rang for the fight to start I saw that they were fighting each other! I didn't know which side to stand on. The first thing that happens is that the trainer walks up to the fighter and knees him in the balls. That was the end of the fight."
"Things between me and the fighter died out and I started hanging out with the trainer again. It was funny as right after the fight he poked me and pointed up at the stage then smiled. I couldn't believe these two guys just tried to fight over me. Anyways I kept hanging out with the trainer. We started having sex and we used a thai condom. It was the first time that I'd used a thai condom and I thought it was great! A few days later the trainer came to my place and asked me if I had bled yet. He showed up a few days after that and asked me again. Each time he asked he'd get really happy when I told him I hadn't. He had pulled off the condom when we had sex to try to get me pregnant. Luckily I didn't get pregnant."
Saturday, March 7, 2009
The passage of time out here is different than at home. Its slower, and more routine. The daily motions of training wrap me up and put me on a schedule. The days slowly melt with the sun. My fight at Rajamadern is coming up in a week. I have to profess a little bit of nervousness. Rajamadern is an olympic style stadium. I'm sure I'll perform fine, a smidge worried about getting tired but my 6 hour a day training should take care of my 15 minute fight.
Today I slept a lot. My body is still tired and my eye is slightly pained. Last night after training I laid around and ate, then ate some more. In the evening Steven and I went to an ex-pat bar and had a drink then went to a house party where everyone was smoking and the air conditioning wasn't on. I left the smoke filled den for a shower and overdue slumber.
Today I hope to eat some indian food. Maybe go see the new watchmen movie.
The days pass into the night.
Monday, March 2, 2009
Its pissing rain. Pouring buckets and buckets. I'm apprehensive about going outside and getting soaked. I should have walked home instead of stopping in this internet cafe to check my email. Oh well.
I've continued to watch movies during my time off. I've seen two that are exceptionally poignant.
The first I saw is a film called Raspberry Reich. The film is basically a gay porno with revolutionary slogans spliced in. The main characters abduct a rich, gay man in order to expropriate money from his father. Sex ensues. Sloganeering ensues. The film is hilarious.
The second film is "La Haine." Released in 1995, it came out on dvd in 2006. I actually thought the film was made in the last year or two. Set in the parisian ghetto, the story follows three lumpen boys on a day of their listless lives. It denotes the anguishing boredom of their situation and their inability to change their social situations. It was painful to watch the characters struggle with their surroundings. They were so... stuck. It reminded me a lot of being younger, of being broke, of being full of rage and being completely impotent to change my life. Another reason I liked the movie, of course, is because their is a muay thai boxing scene in it. Huzzah!