Thursday, December 20, 2007
Once a year the Satit Kaset Teachers say goodbye to friends and family and the luxury of Bangkok and take our students to CAMP. It is a challenging experience to say the least as 24 hour exposure to teenagers is an over load for even the most devoted educator. It is fun, but can be a bit much. This year was one of the most rewarding of these journeys. The students we teach are sheltered, spoiled, and for the most part CITY KIDS. They really don't know much about anything beyond shopping malls, sky trains, and their family compounds, so it is fun to see them taken out of their element for a while.
Sunday, December 9, 2007
Well the old saying goes, "Everyone's a critic." I knew while writing ECHO POOL that this book was a bit personal and was a very introspective project. I also purposefully used a literary style in the development of the narrative, which is not exactly popular in the new millennium. So who would have guessed Bangkok Book House would want to publish it. In the end I think it was a good situation for both of us. I have written something different than their usual novels about Sukamvit, sex trade, Russian Mobsters, and burn out SEXPats, and lets face it these are not the only stories to be told in Thailand. But readers who are expecting this from my novel, just because it was published by Bangkok Book House will not get that kind fo thrill from my work.
I bring this up because, since the books release about 3 months ago, I've been really surprised at how positive the feedback has been about the book. People seem to find so much of themselves in the book, especially people from small towns and who have lived in the Kingdom of Thailand for a while.
BUT, of course there will be those who don't like it. So I finally got a negative review of the book and I must say for a few minutes I was really disappointed and felt completely rejected. It is hard to feel, especially perhaps after all the positive strokes and well dones, to feel someone really didn't enjoy the novel.
Anyway, this criticism was written on a chat service called Asia Fiction, which was created to help promote Asian writers like myself. I would really like it if, and yes even if you didn't like the book, people could go onto this site and leave their impressions of my book.
Please click on the title above and visit the site. You will see the negative criticism and you can respond to it. Avenge me! Avenge me! Avenge me!
Friday, December 7, 2007
It has been said that when two men argue and need to find a physical way of settling their dispute that it is childish. I must disagree. In fact, I believe it is a natural thing for conflict to occur between coworkers and at times it is necessary for these conflicts to be resolved in a physical manner. Childish? NO. Nature, like two tigers clawing at each other over the meet of a slain cow.
So many have asked how the grudge between Ajarn Year and Ajarn Ken began, well it was something like. "You suck at that," A said and then B said, "well but I'm better than you." "Well but your only better than me at that." "No, I'm better than you at lots of things." "No your not." "Yes I am." "No your not." "Yes I am."
And so the calm cool headed guy in the room suggested a test of strength and stamina to settle the dispute. 10 laps around the track should decide who has some willpower. So the two decided to get it on. Then before anyone at Satit Kaset could stop it, nearly every school in the high school wanted to come out and yell and scream for their ajarns.
In the end it was a bonding moment for the entire building. Some of the oddest things happen when you work with young people.
Monday, December 3, 2007
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Well, they shouldn't make me feel bad! You know I love to roam around and enjoy a coffee in the multitude of coffee shops here in Bangkok. I enjoy writing or reading while enjoying the company of my fellow Bangkokians; however, I just wish if people were sick they would stay the hell home. What right do I have to cover up? Well what right do they have to be out in public, especially in a place of consumption, with their nasty nasal sickness.
Yesterday I dropped by one of my favorite coffee houses to grab a cup of ice coffee for the road. I love this place, in fact I finished ECHO POOL sitting in this joint -- which is why I won't bring up the name -- but my experience was ruined by the sniffles and then spray of the coffee girl there.
It was a horror for me watching the girl make my coffee, her fingers glistening from some mucus as she went about scooping, pressing, and poring, and then I heard the sniffley raspy sounds of her trying to contain and restrain her bodily fluids. But I tried to act friendly and calm. Then, just as she finished the drink she dropped down, in an effort not to sneeze in my drink, and let out a blast of sinus fluids into her hands. She had succeeded in missing my drink and it was very nice of her to put in such effort. Feeling relieved I glanced over at a beautiful young lady entering the coffee house, but when I looked back I realized she had fished her mucus infected fingers into the bowl where the straws were and jabbed a contaminated straw into my drink.
"Fifty five baht."
I paid her. I stayed silent. I felt sick to my stomach at the thought of the straw being jammed, no doubt contaminated, into my drink. I took the drink, walked into the parking lot, found the first trash can I could find, and tossed it away without a sip.
Should I really have drank it?
Come on food workers, I know you need your pay, but if you're sick could you please just STAY HOME and get better! Don't prove yourself the dedicated employee and spread your illness to everyone you serve.
Friday, November 16, 2007
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Fire shows certainly do not originate from Thailand, but they are becoming very popular. I really enjoyed this one in the misty mountains to the East of Bangkok. It was a great show on a cool, well cool for Thailand so like 80 degrees, evening up out of the city. Key to happiness in working in Bangkok -- GET OUT OF BANGKOK ON THE WEEKENDS and BREATH!
Monday, November 5, 2007
Friday, November 2, 2007
Yo, this is HENRY MILLER and he was a writer who lived to write and wrote to express life. I have always really loved his work. I guess as a teacher of writing and a writer myself, I am often thinking about the process of writing. What is really important? What is really quality? What is from the heart and what is produced from the brains ability to form and craft.
I think Henry was a man who had the carnal nature which drove him, selfishly, to chase the things which made him happy. He was a man obsessed with the moment -- the great one -- the human ones. And in this obsession he found brilliance.
Students often ask me, "how can I become a better writer." The answer is simple. "Read and write more often! Then LIVE and find stories to write about by living."
I know ECHO POOL is primarily autobiographical, as I practice what I preach and write about what I know and what I have experienced. I think I learned a great deal of this philosophy from Henry.
If you want to learn about his life, travels, and loves, check out this film! Then READ HIS WORK! Click the title for a link to this film and how to see it. I promise you'll see a side to a writer that you aren't expecting!
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Monday, October 22, 2007
This amazing photo has cheered me up a little bit on this dreary Monday morning. On my drive to work, just a ten minute little commute, I was listening to the English language global news. Often times I forbid myself from doing this as it tends to ruin my day, but I was just curious what was going on out there on planet Earth so I just couldn't bring myself to kick in my Wu Tang DVD and roll on.
Of course there is news of an explosion that killed over 100 people, fighting in north Iraq between Christians and Muslims, protests in Tibet as the Chinese continue to crack down on their freedoms, violence in Africa, and tension rising between the US and CHINA because of Myanmar, trade disagreements, and Tibet. No matter what magical realms still exist on our remarkable planet, HUMAN NATURE seems bent on destruction. Man can not possibly hope to be the dominant species on the planet into the next millennium because someone will have figured out how to destroy what's left of our ozone layer and sell off laser shield protection to nations that can afford it, like Saudi Arabia or Japan, and all the poor nations are going to get fried. Thailand will have to bring back Taksin just so he can flip the bill for this. Then, finally after everyone realizes the truth is there will never be enough cash to satisfy human greed, people will turn on these ozone killers and kill them. Sadly, as a side note, they will have destroyed the instrument that could have saved them from the harmful rays of the sun and in victory they will fry as the sun sets on man kind permanently.
I'm betting on FISH to be the dominant species into the future. Like Box Head up here, beautiful and probably -- with that big square brain of his -- smarter than us.
Saturday, October 20, 2007
Thursday, October 18, 2007
PLEASE READ THE ARTICLE I CUT AND PASTED BELOW.
Matthew Weaver and agencies Wednesday October 17, 2007Guardian Unlimited
Buddhist monks during the recent protests. Photographer: PA
The Burmese military admitted it was interrogating hundreds of pro-democracy demonstrators and hunting for more, as reports emerged of the first Buddhist monks to be jailed for protesting.
In their state-run newspaper today, the junta said nearly 3,000 protesters had been arrested, many of whom are still being interrogated.
They also said only people who agreed to sign "pledges" not to take part in further demonstrations were being released.
In an official statement published in the New Light of Myanmar newspaper, the military leaders said: "Those who led, got involved in and supported the unrest which broke out in September were called in and are being interrogated.
"Some are still being called in for questioning and those who should be released will be."
The statement said 2,927 people had been arrested since the crackdown started, and nearly 500 were still in custody.
There were no details of the pledges those released were required to sign. But some free protesters said they involved a promise not to support the pro-democracy movement.
The statement said if the Buddhist monks who led the protests had stayed in their monasteries the protests would not have been put down.
The news agency Reuters said a 26-year-old monk, Eik Darea, has been jailed for seven-and-a-half years for taking part in the protests.
"He was charged with inciting public unrest and illegal association. I'm so sorry he might be sent to a labour camp," a monastic source told Reuters.
It said he was sentenced by a district court in Sittwe, the capital of the north-western state of Rakhine, where several protests took place last month.
There was little word on the closed trials that have taken place in Rangoon. But yesterday relatives of five members of Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy said they, too, have been jailed for seven-and-a-half years for taking part in the protests.
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Lincoln, Neb. -- In a new development in leadership changes in the athletic department at the University of Nebraska, today Chancellor Harvey Perlman announced Tom Osborne has agreed to serve as athletic director on an interim basis.
Osborne left his head coaching post at Nebraska in 1997 after 30 years coaching football, including leading the Nebraska Cornhuskers to three national championships, 12 Big Eight titles and one Big 12 title. Osborne's teams finished in the top 10 17 times. He ended his head-coaching career with a record of 255-49-3.
Since Osborne left his post as Third district Congressman following a gubernatorial bid in 2006 he has been a senior lecturer in the UNL College of Business Administration, teaching leadership and business ethics.
Osborne met with Perlman this morning to discuss the interim post and Osborne agreed to serve, on an open-ended arrangement, until Perlman finds a permanent athletic director. Perlman on Oct. 15 fired Steve Pederson, who had held the AD post since 2002.Osborne said he looks forward to the challenge.
"I've spent the majority of my life working with the Athletic Department at the university and I want to do what I can at this point to continue in the pursuit of excellence that has been previously established," he said today.
Osborne said he anticipated taking over duties right away and would also finish the semester teaching his two classes, which he enjoys.
Chancellor Perlman said he is pleased that Osborne agreed to provide leadership and that the university will benefit from Osborne's vast experience.
"I am very pleased that Tom Osborne has agreed to help bring some leadership and direction to our Athletic program. Tom is committed to making the entire program successful. He brings the right experience, an understanding of Nebraska, and our aspirations. I look forward to working with him."
Monday, October 15, 2007
The final big hitter of Thailand's Book world has ordered ECHO POOL! This was great news as I had heard months ago that Kinokuniya Singapore already had the novel, and so I was a bit frustrated that the Bangkok branches didn't. Let's face it this is the little giant of Bangkok. It only has 3 locations, but come on, the two best book stores in Bangkok are in the Emporium and in Paragon, and these are both Kinokuniya.
I'm honored that they have decided to give ECHO POOL a bit of shelf space. They should be there by Wednesday or Thursday of this week. Still haven't got a copy? Got to Kinokuniya and show them some support. Also, if you haven't ordered one on line, click on the title above for an easy payment gateway.
Tuesday, October 9, 2007
UN security council experts met today to finetune a Western-sponsored statement condemning the bloody military crackdown in Burma, but China pressed for softer language.
Experts from the council's 15 members huddled behind closed doors this afternoon in a search of consensus on a draft that could be submitted to their ambassadors for approval.
Early today, China's deputy UN ambassador Liu Zhenmin said there would be consultations "to improve the text", meaning to soften language in the draft submitted by the United States, Britain and France on Friday.
The three Western powers introduced their text after the council heard a report from UN envoy Ibrahim Gambari on his recent mission to Burma to defuse the crisis.
The draft would condemn "the violent repression of peaceful demonstrations" by Burma's rulers, urge them to "cease repressive measures" and release detainees as well as all political prisoners, including opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
It was submitted amid intense pressure for strong council action from world public opinion following outrage over Burma's deadly repression of peaceful anti-government protests led by Buddhist monks late last month.
Official figures reveal at least 13 people died and more than 2100 were locked up in the crackdown as security forces used live rounds, baton charges and tear gas to crush protests involving up to 100,000 people.
On Saturday, protests were held in several cities around the world in support of Burma's embattled pro-democracy movement.
"What is important is that the council give a strong message in support of Professor Gambari," a South African diplomat said as he went into the meeting.
The diplomat predicted agreement on a text by Wednesday at the earliest.
Italy's UN Ambassador Marcello Spatafora for his part stressed that it was urgent for the council to send a "strong, unified' message to Burma's ruling junta.
"There's a sense of urgency to send a strong message, a unified message, at the right moment. That is now," he said.
Unlike a resolution, a presidential statement requires the consent of all 15 members to be adopted.
China, which has close ties with Burma and favours constructive engagement with its military regime, warned last week that putting pressure on the ruling generals "would lead to confrontation".
China's UN envoy Wang Guangya Friday urged members to adopt "a prudent and responsible approach".
The United States has threatened to push for UN sanctions against the military regime, including an arms embargo, if it refuses to halt its crackdown and refused to cooperate with Mr Gambari's mediation for national reconciliation.
But any sanctions resolution was likely to face resistance and possibly a veto from China and Russia, which deem the turmoil in the South-East Asian country an internal matter and not a threat to broader peace and security.
Last January, China and Russia used a rare double veto to block a US-sponsored draft resolution that would have called on Burma's rulers to free all political detainees and end sexual violence by the military.
In a conciliatory move apparently aimed at forestalling tough council condemnation, Burma's rulers trumpeted the release of hundreds of monks and demonstrators and donated thousands of dollars as well as food and medicines to monasteries in Rangoon.
And junta chief Than Shwe named the deputy labour minister, Aung Kyi, as the "manager for relations" with Aung San Suu Kyi, four days after the military supremo made a heavily conditioned offer to meet with the Nobel Peace prize laureate, state television said.
Aung San Suu Kyi, who has come to symbolise Burma's peaceful struggle for democracy, has spent most of the past 18 years under house arrest.
On Friday, Mr Gambari had said that all council members agreed the status quo in Burma "is unacceptable and unsustainable" and backed his plan to pay a return visit to Burma before mid-November.
Friday, October 5, 2007
Wednesday, October 3, 2007
Friday, September 28, 2007
Or, “The band can really wale, let’s pick up their CD and play it this weekend for the barbeque.”
Words on a page, or rather the worlds being created via those words, are only as accessible as the minds trained upon them. In essence without readers who have the skills to comprehend the vernacular, the intention, the intonations, they are nothing more than ink on a page.
Paintings get a double take, admiration for hours by educated and novice alike. Musicians can turn up the amplifiers and make their point with volume. They get noticed, they get felt, and their art spills out there into the world by means which capture their audience.
For writers, we have nothing without READERS. The world needs more of them.
Thursday, September 27, 2007
I have 5 books left of the original shipment we sent to the United states. I feel bad about this, but the price is going to have to be raised to deal with the ever falling US dollar. When people pay me with their dollars, it doesn't cover the shipping costs from Thailand anymore. I will hold this price for just the next 5 books, and then I will have to raise the price a dollar or two to cover the shipping charges. I am sure most people who wanted the book have got it by now, but if not, act now.
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Monday, September 24, 2007
Hey Husker fans, you just witnessed a record setting day on offense from our quarterback. 438 passing yards in a game. How about 322 passing yards in a half. AIR HUSKERS!
So, why do I feel like I just looked into the crystal ball and saw the grim reaper laughing at me? We scored 41 points, and had over 500 yards of total offense. WOW. Could it be, and I'm just guessing here, but the fact that BALL STATE, a team I don't even know if I could find on a map, scored 40?
Fans of the red army, we are in for a DARK SEASON when it comes to our beloved BLACK SHIRTS. The booing at the stadium shows a real lack of class, but I know if I see a horror show I SCREAM!
Imagine what TEXAS or God forbid OU will do to our defense this year if Balls to the wall Ball state can score 40. 3-1, and I think about to have a MELT DOWN.
Perhaps my Nebraska friends, it is time for you to buy a copy of ECHO POOL and curl up with a good book. One that flashes back to a time when Nebraska football meant DOMINATION!
DEFENSE WINS CHAMPIONSHIPS! OFFENSE LOOKS COOL! Find us some PETER brothers, jailed or not, and bring back our BLACK SHIRT PRIDE!
Friday, September 21, 2007
Monday, September 17, 2007
I have a great deal of pleasure showing off the cultural arts of Thailand whenever anyone from the West comes here. It is so foreign to them that their reaction some how sparks my own memories of experiencing it for the first time. It's sort of like I steel their excitement and remember my own.
On days like that I try hard not to swear as much at Taxis, idiot Mercedes drivers, or curse the incessant HEAT.
Thursday, September 13, 2007
This new website can be reached by simply clicking on the TITLE above.
It has been inspiring to hear what Echo Pool has meant to people. In fact, as a writer, perhaps there is nothing more rewarding than having someone tell you what they felt or though about when they were reading your book.
Still haven't bought one? In Bangkok we are getting in almost everywhere now, except Asia Books for some reason, but B2S, Bookazine, Book Garden, and coming in this week KINOKUNIYA should have us in.
Monday, September 10, 2007
Two lovely guests. Congratulations Savie, your book release will be next!
Pat and Poom are always SMILING!
Above is Nikki, Ron, and Carla, and of course Bennie the Book Garden mascot and to date my SMALLEST fan.
Left, Speedy Actor steeling the photo with those cool actor looks. I need to hang out with less attractive friends.
My over all feeling after the book launch was that of friendship. Truthfully, this book is about family and friends. There isn't a chapter in this piece that would have been possible without the support and friendship that I have enjoyed my entire life. From America to Thailand, Thailand to China, I've been blessed with some great friends and don't worry, if you weren't in this book -- YOU PROBABLY WILL BE IN THE NEXT ONE!
Friday, September 7, 2007
Wednesday, September 5, 2007
One hour before the guests.
The Book Signing at BOOK GARDEN last week was a great success. Lots of good friends and very tasty cake and cheap wine. Over all it was a fun way to launch and hopefully bring some good luck to my new book ECHO POOL. I sort of feel like now, since people are out there reading it and sending me comments and reports of their impressions, that it is truly finished! It has been a labor of love, especially because so much of the book is autobiographical, and now I feel energized to move on to other writing projects with full focus!
I am setting up a website which will allow people to give feedback and sort of chat about the book. I'd really love for people to write in and tell me what they thought and then I'll post those comments so others can argue, disagree, or whatever...
Still haven't bought the book which is creating scandal on 2 continents? Push the button bellow and BUY NOW!
Tuesday, September 4, 2007
Nikki Red Hot Rock and Roll Redington! A live performance at the BOOK GARDEN on Sena here in the city of Bangkok. It was the ECHO POOL launch party and once she had sung my book's release was sort of secondary. It was awesome!
Still need ECHO POOL? Click on the button:
Monday, September 3, 2007
MAYBE IT COULD BE? WELL LADIES, write in to let me know? I'm just curious?
Thursday, August 30, 2007
Memories! Just seeing memorial stadium brings everything back. Perhaps it is because I left Nebraska and set out to find my fortunes elsewhere, but for me this stadium always means HOME, FAMILY, FRIENDS, and pride. My father was a university of Nebraska employee for 27 years and during that time we had season tickets to the Huskers. I loved going to the games with my Mom and Dad when I was a boy, and then once I was in high school I attended with my friends from Curtis.
The Tom Osborn era was an amazing one to grow up during. Games in the 70's and 80's in this stadium were amazing. 9 and 10 win seasons every year. We didn't win even 1 national title during that stretch but in truth I can only remember losing a hand full of home games. Oklahoma would roll in and beat us, and there was a massive upset where a little known program by the name of Florida State came in and beat us once. We scored two touchdowns and held them to 0 touchdowns, but they hit 5 field goals and beat us. I was shocked! I can honestly say I'd never heard of FSU at this point in their development they were no where.
Then there was the 90's and it all came together with not only great seasons, but seasons which ended with national titles: 3 of them!
But all the winning: big 8 titles, big 12 titles, and even national titles, really sort of pale in comparison to the memories of my friends. The road trip the 4 hours to get to the game, the parties before, during, and after the games. It was amazing to grow up like this! We were lucky!