Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Thai politics welcomes the next PM

Well, next up for Thai politics is a new PM. I suppose this is not surprising considering we have had a new PM about once every six months here. I would like to be optimistic and say that Abhisit does appear different than the others. First of all, he was born in England and is well educated, finishing at Oxford of all places. He is younger and seems to appeal to the public.

Now the PAD will leave the streets of Bangkok and declare a victory of sorts. They wanted Taksin's puppets out and it would appear they have done that. This guy is no Taksin puppet and has opposed him for most of Taksin's political life. So the PAD gets to go home and relax from all of their protesting and demonstrating. 

So it's over right? Wrong! Now it is the RED mobs turn to protest and take to the streets in order to disrupt and destroy the current government. This will begin as soon as the King gives the approval to the new PM. Interesting, confusing, and oh so Thai.

But again, I'll take all of this protesting and vote wrangling over the way most South East Asian nations have solved their political struggles. Cambodia killed a few million in solving theirs, and Burma is still killing all opposition as if it was a Rambo movie, oh yeah it was. Vietnam had their war, one of the ugliest in the region. Thai's seem to always avoid the final outcome most nations fly to when power is confronted with resistance: FORCE.

Good luck Abhisit, if you can last a full term you will be the first in recent memory to do so. Well, technically Taksin finished a term, was re-elected and then Couped from office shortly after. 

The vitals of PM elect ABHISIT VEJJAJIVA: 

Born in Britain, educated at Eton and Oxford
Entered parliament in 1992 as one of its youngest members
Party leader since 2005
Opposed military coup that overthrew Thaksin Shinawatra
Profile: Abhisit Vejjajiva

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Dancing Shrimp

I love trying new food. Sometimes it takes a few beers to get me ready to try it though. In this video Nan and I are enjoying a Thai dish known as Dancing Shrimp. In reality they are uncooked shrimp served with spicy peppers which freak them out and make them jump around in the bowl. When one gets over the sheer oddness of the dish, it is very spicy and tasty. It is also supposed to, much like sushi, be more healthy as there is no cooking oils or grease used in their preparation. It is just herbs, spices, and shrimp.
Give it a try on your next visit to Thailand.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The night of the Smiling MOON

It was the night of the smiling moon. December 1st Bangkokians rushed to their rooftops and backyards to check out an amazing event. Venus and Jupiter aligned just above a sliver moon and a smiling face peered down over a very troubled land of smiles. 

Things have gotten worse here. The PAD in an act of desperation has lain siege to the two primary airports of the city and blocked all travel in and out. Hundreds of thousands of tourists and travelers have been stranded and even more than that have been blocked from returning to Bangkok. The PAD is trying to get rid of a tyrant, Taksin, who has pulled the strings of Thai government with bribery and political blackmail for years -- even thought officially he is a convicted criminal in exile -- he still has a lot of power here. I understand that the PAD stands against a government filled with corruption, but is this the way to do it? Now cancellations of tourists and business travelers are swamping local hotels, and my good friend at Bandara Resorts where I do some free lance copy writing, has basically informed me that they have had massive set backs for the next 6 months. 

The global economy is in turmoil and a nation like Thailand does not have the resources to offer infusion packages and bail out plans. That is a lie only the big nations can tell. So this gamble by the PAD to force something to happen just may come back to haunt them. I must say I agree with their political ideals and hopes. I respect their sacrifice. I am just very concerned that now, even if they win, they may have coast the Thai people any hope of a decent economy in the coming 2 years. Sometimes in winning the battle we lose the war. Let's hope there is a result, a leader who can join this two factions and connect the Thai people again.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Video of the Week #2 DAVID BOWIE

  David Bowie has been my favorite musician for a greater part of my life. What has been amazing to me is that I have progressed as he has. What I mean is that Bowie has not settled over his more than 40 year career in music. He continues to evolve, change, and make magical pieces of music for every decade. Sadly, most people stick bowie in the 80's with his "Let's Dance" and "China Girl" efforts. Good songs, don't get me wrong, but far from his best work.
Bowie has done it all from punk, hard rock, disco, soft rock, and through it all he has never forgotten to be David Bowie. I chose this video from his long career because of visual elements and the songs very odd but interesting lyrics. He just never fails to make me think.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Husker Magic at the End

It was a very well played game by both teams. CU brought more than I expected in this boarder war. The series totals certainly doesn't show it, but CU always plays the Huskers tough. This game was so close it took a school record to get the Huskers on top. But the icing on the cake was a 300 pound Defense Tackle smacking a quarterback in the mouth and walking into the end zone. Well done HUSKERS.

Look out Big 12 conference, we will be back!

An 8-4 finish and a BIG TIME BOWL GAME for the BIG RED. What a difference a BO makes. 

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

PAD close the international airport

The PAD has struck their biggest blow against the government. This will force the hand of the government one way or the other and so truly, tension is rising. By shutting down the international airport they have blocked the travel of tourists and Thai people alike. It is time for the government to act, and in my opinion, to take the action of stepping down.

It is a scary time right now for everyone, but the yellow PAD is well organized, well protected, and seem resolute in bringing about change. True peaceful demonstrations continue, and I believe if they can continue to disrupt in a truly peaceful fashion they must be respected and heard. FIGHT ON YELLOW SHIRTS!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thailand is in Political Turmoil

Please click on the title for up to date information about all the political unrest in Thailand. The PAD, truly are beginning to win this peaceful war on the government of Thailand. Often the western media portrays them as trouble makers, which makes me sick. These people are risking everything, they are giving up their time and for many their income to fight against one of the most corrupt leaders in the history of this nation. They are patriots, right or wrong, and truly believe in changing their nation by peaceful protest. Westerners stay out of this issue! You don't understand that they are trying to remove, from now forward, the powerful families who have put this nation in a strangle hold of bribery and corruption. 

So long as they can do it peacefully, my admiration and respect go to the PAD. Fight on Yellow shirts, change is coming. 

Thanksgiving in the United States

vs. Colorado

Series history (46-18-2)

It's Thanksgiving weekend in the United States, and although I am far away from the turkey, stuffing, beer, and football, I am very excited about the coming show down between my rebuilding Huskers and the hated Colorado Buffalo. My family is from Colorado, so this is not about hating one of the best states in the union. I love Colorado, it was my home for 12 years. But, I am a CSU fan when it comes to Colorado. The evil trust fund babies of the CU clan have long detested my midwestern rooted Huskers and this rancor has turned to a mutual dislike for most big red fans. 

We are not the big red of old, but with Bo coaching our current team it is obvious that we are going to rebuild and we are going to improve. I think the buffalo chips are headed for an old fashioned HUSKER thumping. 



Colorado 13

Friday, November 21, 2008


Hey, a few Siminoe.com fans, not that there are many or anything, but those that do check it out once in a while, have been asking me two questions. 1st why don't you offer movie reviews and suggestions, since you've been teaching script writing and movie analysis for 15 years. 2nd what was your musical preferences of the past and why did you listen to that crap?

So let me be honest, life in Thailand on a daily basis is sort of like that Twilight zone episode where the guy gets everything he wants all the time until he realizes maybe he is not in heaven. This is not a place with a lot of struggle, although politically things are heating up a bit. So I think I will try to sprinkle into my Thailand stories, some blasts from my past musically, and some film critics and suggestions. I know, everyone reviews movies, well yeah, but most of them are idiots.

So here is my first selection. A song that I absolutely loved in the 80's and a song that might remind you of the more energetic and somewhat innocent sounds of the 80's.


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Sukhum's Cousin's Noodle Factory

Have you ever wondered how we get all those delicious noodles. In Thailand one of the primary staples of our diet is noodles. We of course have rice, but many Thai people eat noodles far more often than rice. The primary reason for noodle popularity is availabilty and price. A bowl of noodles in a soup, with some pork balls or fish balls tossed in for nutrition is only about $.70 and adding lots of peppers and hot sauce is free. We eat noodles here to fill you up cheap, but in truth they are a delicious part of most Thai people's diet. In Thai we say, COAT DE O, to order noodles.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

My House in Bangkok

For some reason this video is TOO light, but I don't have time for a serious edit. At least you can see a bit of my new home. Send me any decoration ideas you might have. 

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Big Wedding and Beautiful Guests

October is the month for weddings. Actually in the education business there are two months that seem to hold all of the weddings: October and April. These two months are important for teachers because we are not teaching and so we have time to either participate in or attend weddings. This October our school has 5 members of our staff tying the not. What's kind of cool is that 4 of the 5 are getting married to each other. Confusing? Well love in the work place here in Thailand is not really looked down at so long as it is proper, or in other words leads to a wedding at some point. What is amazing about weddings in all parts of the world is that everyone who comes wants to be as beautiful as they can, and of course this is the big reason we all go to weddings. I love to see everyone all dressed up. I guess it is like the adult version of the prom.

Last week my golfing buddy Ajarn Sak got married to my classroom partner Ajarn Pang. The events was attended by about 400 guests. The venue was wonderful, the food was delicious, and the ladies showed up looking marvelous. I think I'll just let the photos say it all. Enjoy. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Obama gives US a grand opportunity

The other day I met my good friend Mark for a coffee and a chat. Mark is Irish and visits Thailand to write and enjoy himself before the chilly winters of Dublin begin. He is putting the finishing touches on his PhD in French Philosophy, and is especially interested in the United States because many of the ideals that Americans hold as base values today, actually come from the French revolutionaries who preceded the construct of the U.S. I guess an obvious and natural curiosity would be here, because as a historian it is always fun to look back at ideas and see if they came to be fulfilled and fully developed. 

Mark admitted he, like most Europeans, were shocked when 4 years ago the American people did not get rid of George Bush. He said it was a huge disappointment to most of the world. The thing is, America is no longer the educational power it was, technological power, or manufacturer was, but it is still a massive economy and military power. In essence the world watches our elections and hopes that those of us with the privilege to chose this world leader will chose one that can bring our nation forward and in essence bring the world forward.

Here is the thing, we as Americans have a massive opportunity here to elect a man of color to the greatest office in our government. We can LEAD AGAIN, by proving we actually value some of the words which are written in our great documents -- such as "all men are created equal" -- and we can show the world that we are not afraid of CHANGE! 

By the year 2040 white America will lose its majority standing. That is still a long ways off, but that doesn't mean that white America can not benefit from a leader who is not white. This is a man who has studied hard the historical baggage of our nation, felt it first hand, and followed the fundamental beliefs of our nation all the way to this point.

Can we then, as a people, take the next step with him? Can we look past a name and a color that is not the same as every leader who has come before? 

What an opportunity to show that WE CAN! In truth, we must. At every turn during the past 8 years we have marginalized people's from around the world by our extreme politics. While our leadership has been unwilling to change, grow, and accept a new leadership in the world, enemies have flourished and been able to recruit at record levels. Peace, and partnership reigns across Europe now and yet still we separate, draw lines in the sand, and make demands on nations we don't understand. 

Let's take a step toward global leadership. Let's find a way to bridge gaps with nations who fear and don't believe we are truly an integrated nation who stand for peace and economic growth. In my opinion, Obama is the answer to this.

Obama for president!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Cambodia Clash -- From the Nation

Cambodia claims Thailand violated airspace
By Deutsche Presse Agentur
Phnom Penh - Thailand violated Cambodian airspace hours before a border skirmish erupted on Wednesday, Cambodian officials said. 

Cambodian and Thai soldiers on Wednesday exchanged gunfire in a disputed zone near the ancient Preah Vihear temple on the Thai-Cambodian border called Eagle Field, or Eagle Terrace, 300 kilometres north of the Cambodian capital, which is an important strategic point for access to Preah Vihear.

 "The Thai injuries were worse, but there were casualties on both sides," the director-general of Cambodia's Preah Vihear authority, which oversees the site, said by telephone.

 "The Thai fighter jet came 8:50 am and again at 10.07 am to disturb our airspace. Cambodian soldiers wanted to fight then, but they were placated for a while.

 "I do not know why fighting happened at 2.15 until 3.30 pm because I was not there," the head of Cambodia's Preah Vihear authority, Hang Soth, said by telephone from a meeting in Phnom Penh.

 He said there were casualties on both sides, but that the Thai side had borne the brunt of duel M-79, B-40 and AK-47 exchanges.

 Cambodian authorities said all civilians had fled the area and it was now regarded by both sides as a conflict zone.

 The Wednesday shoot-out at Eagle Terrage is important to the ongoing dispute over the Preah Vihear temple because whoever controls that area controls access to the temple, which is sacred to both sides.

 A similar clash at the same site on October 3 left two Thai soldiers and one Cambodian wounded.

Thailand VS Cambodia

What the hell is going on? Thailand and Cambodia are still arguing about this boarder dispute, but now guns have been drawn. Small arms fire erupted today along the Thai - Cambodian boarder. There are no reports of any dead, but wounded Thai soldiers were air lifted back to Bangkok today.

This sucks! Two Buddhist nations fighting over Buddhist temple lands. Am I the only one who sees the irony of this. Hey, Christians, Muslims, and well basically every other major religion have been killing each other since their religions were born, but come on, this is no way for Buddhist nations to act. 

Here is the sad part, I believe the real problem is simply money arrangements which have been made for the future tourism of this location. Both sides have already made deals and now they fear the consequences if they can not make good on those deals. I don't know the real story, but I do know everyone needs to chill. Thailand should have no fight with the Cambodians, because they share a religion and they share a boarder that has been peaceful for generations. 

Monday, October 13, 2008

Time for a CHANGE

I'm very tired of the right-wing, trickle down Republicans saying that none of the mess we are in now is G.W.'s fault. As my father once said, sometimes people can't see the wall in front of their face until they smash into it. I thought having a never ending war, a collapsed economy, less individual freedoms as people, and a national deficit was wall enough; however, there are still those who believe we must protect the big business men who will protect the rest of us. I say screw the rich! I say help the farmers! I say help the middle class! I'm sick of the big business game plan which always seems so eager to send the poor and middle class boys and girls off to fight for property rights and oil drilling sights. You can color shit anyway you want to it still smells like shit and if you really want to make sure my Republican brothers, take a bite and be sure it tastes like it to. 

NO MORE YEARS of the BUSH linage.

I am casting my proxy for OBAMA! 

Monday, October 6, 2008

Husker Season Underway and Under Water

Although I am an expat living in Bangkok, my blood is Husker red. I love the fact that the university of Nebraska got rid of a coach who was hell bent on ridding our program of the traditions our program had developed over the past 40 years. He did not understand the Husker Nation and it was easy to see his moves were hurting our program and running it into the ground. Now, we are rebuilding with a new coaching staff, many new players, and yet for us OLD fans it is difficult to watch the modern big red.

Missouri had not beaten Nebraska in Lincoln in 30 years. They dealt out a 30 year ass kicking on Saturday that no one in the land of red is going to forget any time soon. It really hurt to see this disaster.

I suppose we just have to be patient and let the new staff develop their ideas about the team, but man is it hard to see us this meek.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Visiting my old boss LARRY

Larry is faking as if he is really sick so that all of his old employees feel guilty and go to visit him. I also think he wants very beautiful nurses to take care of him.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Coups, Criples, and Visitors

Sometimes it is amazing how life can be going in multiple directions at once. I have felt the sting of another birthday, wondered of my mortality -- as is the tradition of such an event -- and come to the conclusion that it will wait, death I mean, at least for a while. So what do I do with what is left? That's always the question isn't it. Now I'm at the big 40, I've lived through it and made it all the way to 41. I can't even imagine it in actuality. What does one do when they were a child of the 80's living wild and free with the firm belief that life was to be lived as death had to be coming soon; however, here I am 20 years later still breathing.

So many odd events are happening in Thailand. We have a political stand off. One in which elected officials, who no one thinks achieved their elected office honestly, are being protested against by a group of college professors, middle class workers, and intellectuals. What about democracy? Well you know, some times a nation is not ready for completely democracy. This is the cause of the PAD who are out in the streets in force to protest the current government. But let me write about their cause on another day.

In truth, my last few weeks have been horrible. I turned 41, and this was a very nice evening. I spent it with 4 close friends and enjoyed a nice dinner and then hung out on my roof and drank wine together. A nice evening even though my wife had to work and could not attend. But shortly after this night things went down hill.

It began with my close friend Dr. Jim attempting to use my laptop. My laptop and I have a harmonic co-existence, but I seldom share her. Jim seemed to be struggling to use him and at one point he yelped when the screen blinked as if it was closing down. The sound startled me and I shot out of my couch and directly to the floor. My entire back was locking up systematically like a series of doors being closed in a prison. And a prisoner I became. 

My back seized up so completely and so painfully that very quickly I found myself incapable of leaving my home or even my floor for that matter. I've heard of lower back injuries, but from a simple thing like a friend's surprised expression? I work out 3 to 4 days a week. I play basketball and badminton, sports that are physical and demanding and I never get hurt. I bounce off collisions and laugh off the bruises. How could this happen?

I missed my first day of work in 3 years. Then luck was on my side and the stress about the demonstrations closed our school for most of last week. It was good to be lucky. If you see being in so much pain I couldn't even sit up in a chair as lucky? At least I didn't miss work.

I must say I don't feel old, and yet, here I am still struggling up stairs and watching while my students -- calling to me as they race to the court -- head out to play basketball without me. I must say I'm not too happy about 41 so far, but maybe all the pain is just the beginning of the year and by the end there will be joy again.

Friday, August 22, 2008

We never Talk anymore

Sound and vision create a bit of a mood video. A struggle between friends. A masterpiece in the background, created by David Bowie. One tornado of energy and one waterfall of power. Yet still, in the end, friends!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Bangkok Rain

Bangkok rains are hard and relentless. The street flooding is dangerous; however, a lot of fun to go driving around in. Whats a little rain without massive splashing!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The King is Naked

  I’m about ready to rant… Okay, so this is the thing. I’m sick and tired of name brands and labeling, packaging and marketing, spin and branding. In Bangkok today and sadly I would guess all over the world, the independent craftsman or restaurateur is disappearing at an alarming rate and being replaced by corporate foods and designer rehashing of all the same old fashions. Honestly I knew the sickness was spreading out of control when someone decided that the ugly brown and gold of LV was beautiful. Please, just throw the golden LV on a shit-brown purse or pair of shoes and girls will swoon. “Oh honey, I wish I could have a Louis Vuitton. It is so beautiful; it is such a remarkable color and design.”

I got to say I’m scratching my head here, am I the ONLY person on the planet that realizes LV, crafted in their ‘oh so tediously recognizable’ shit-brown color, is hideously dreadful? I’m not saying we should judge all things by its visual qualities, perhaps these LV bags have sturdy zippers or thread woven from the virgin butts of Martian worms or something, but the point is quality or not they are putrid pieces of rubbish to look at. 

   Come on planet Earth, put something on that looks good on you. I’ll let you in on a little secret; the factories in Asia which are cranking these products out are also making the cheep stuff sold at half the price. “Oh Sim, no there are made from a better quality of leather.” “What kind of cow is higher quality? Is this a cow that studied at Stanford or something instead of City College?” 
Here is my advice, tear those labels off. Wear something that looks good. Take the difference between the ugly stuff you were going to buy and the cheap stuff I’m recommending, and DONATE that money to www.siminoe.com , which is struggling to survive. My staff hasn’t been paid in months. I'm guessing LV doesn't need your money.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Husker Glory years and New Beginnings

It's August and College football camps have opened all over the USA. In honesty, I love my life here in Thailand, but there is nothing like a fall chill in the air and the smell of freshly cut football grass. I get homesick one time of year, and that is when the leaves begin to turn, the pads begin to pop, and the polls spur the only worth while discussion in America: WHO IS NUMBER 1?

Friday, August 1, 2008

Beware of the day the SUN goes away

WOW, August is coming in with a magical solar eclipse. This of course happens when the Gods of the ancient world have not been appeased by blood. It is important for people in Canada and norther regions of Russia and China, to quickly sacrifice an oxen or sheep in order to protect their village from this horrible event. Please check the video by National Geographic for more information, but don't take too long, as we all know if the sun leaves our planet we will all be FROZEN in seconds. Don't be responsible for such a disaster. KILL SOMETHING NOW!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Reality Is … So Unreal

The butterfly effect is a concept that really gets my mind reeling. It is the basic theory that even the smallest event or stimulus can create, over a long period of time or a short abrupt period of time, reactions somewhere else in the world. It all began with that famous quote about a butterfly:

"The phrase refers to the idea that a butterfly's wings might create tiny changes in the atmosphere that may ultimately alter the path of a tornado or delay, accelerate or even prevent the occurrence of a tornado in a certain location. The flapping wing represents a small change in the initial condition of the system, which causes a chain of events leading to large-scale alterations of events. Had the butterfly not flapped its wings, the trajectory of the system might have been vastly different. Of course the butterfly cannot literally cause a tornado. The kinetic energy in a tornado is enormously larger than the energy in the turbulence of a butterfly. The kinetic energy of a tornado is ultimately provided by the sun and the butterfly can only influence certain details of weather events in a chaotic manner."

Now something so infinitesimally small, so insignificant and minute, changing a tornadoes path could be seen as inspiring – shockingly so. Yet, I hold to this contemplative fear, "what if that tornado was supposed to miss me, and now it's headed right for my new 3.5 million baht home, 'to which I have no tornado insurance.'"You see when fate or cosmic karma is out to balance or unbalance the scale, it just might be me or you who is about to weigh in and that sucks. I mean every situation begins with something, in movies they say it's the plot point – you know our divergence from the normal into the drama of our story. Consequently, any time I start to feel bored and do a lot of thinking about what bolder in my life is teetering ever so ominously on some cliff I'm destined to walk beneath, I have to remind myself "maybe there is a super butterfly that could fly between me and that bolder and smash it to pieces with its little wings?" But then again, maybe not?

Friday, July 11, 2008

My Genius is in the Coffee

An article on MSNBC has confirmed a long standing suspicion of mine. My Genius may be a result of my massive use of coffee. Study sessions at university in which we crammed an entire semester and 3 or 4 text books into a 24 hour enlightenment period, always made me wonder, "is it the incredible effort I'm putting in which is giving me the good grades, or is it just the coffee?" Researchers created a list of 4 foods which help memory recall and slipping in at number 4 is every teacher's friend, every cop's life blood, black gold, coffee. Now this is wonderful news for me, because I've always indulged myself with coffee as a pick me up which can aid me through my less than stimulating day as a high school teacher. 

Now if they can just come out with a study that says watching movies and eating cake all day will help me to understand quantum physics, then I will be really happy. 

Article from MSNBC:

Coffee (adjust to your personal tolerance)
Good news for coffee lovers. About two years ago, researchers from the University Innsbruck in Austria found caffeinated coffee can temporarily sharpen your focus and memory. After giving volunteers the caffeine equivalent of about two cups of coffee, they observed that their brain activity was increased in two locations—one being the part responsible for memory. Results were observed using MRI technology. Without caffeine, there was no increase in brain activity. 

Then, earlier this year, another study published in a leading Neurology journal, found the effects of coffee may be longer lasting — specifically in women. This four-year long study involving about 7000 participants... all participants went through thorough baseline evaluations – cognitive function was tested, along with high blood pressure, high cholesterol and other vascular issues. Participants were re-evaluated at the two-year mark, and again at the four year mark. 

At the end of the four year period, researchers found that women age 65 and older who drank more than three cups of coffee per day (or the caffeine equivalent in tea) had 33 percent less decline in memory over time than women who drank one cup or less of coffee or tea per day. The results held up even after researchers adjusted for other factors that could affect memory abilities, such as age, education, baseline cognitive function, depression, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, medications, and other chronic illnesses. This caffeine-memory association was not observed in men — the authors hypothesize that perhaps that’s because men and women metabolize caffeine differently.

So if memory problems are a major concern for you, and if you don’t have a medical condition that precludes caffeine, feel free to indulge in a cup or two in the morning to jump-start your brain.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Luc Besson RULES with BEAUTY

The Fifth Elemnt she is "Perfect"

Recently I installed a projection system in my new home. It is so cool to see movies on a 92 inch projection screen and to hear the powerful surround sound, that I basically only leave my house for work and food. One of the great pleasures in having a new system to view movies is pulling out old favorites and watching them again. It has been during this glut of film indulgence that I have come to realize just how much I love Luc Besson. 

Luc Besson is one of my favorite film directors. I know every film school nerd loves to babble on and on about Kubrick -- yes, yes, the patience the calm, he is a brilliant director -- but for my box office bucks I love Besson. He certainly does not have the track record of a Spielberg or Lucas, but what is amazing about Besson is his ability to tell a story. To tell it to an audience that may or may not understand much about science or even fiction, and to use compelling characters to tell his stories. 3 of my favorite films of all time, and I've seen far too many films to make this statement, are Besson's famed jewels: La Femme Nikita, The Fifth Element, and Leon The Professional. Action films with a sense of humor, romance, color, and most importantly a human factor that far too many directors fail to access.  Leon is one of the most singular character in any film, and his relationship with his adopted young lady is magical.

If you have not seen all of his films, check his bio by clicking on the title of this article. You will be taken to an article about his retirement in 2006 which goes into great detail about his career. Chose one of his 10 films and rent or buy it and check him out. You won't be disappointed. 

Monday, July 7, 2008

Motorcycle Taxis go to WORK

It is the year 2551 here in the Kingdom of Thailand. Sometimes I feel like the nation is trapped in the 50's of the west. I mean there is an innocence here very similar to that of the 1950's in America. We have a steadily and rapidly emerging middle class, we have young people who are the first family member to graduate from a university, we have ice cream shops packed with students on giggly dates, movie theaters, ice skating rinks, and so much focus on teen life. But, in other ways I feel this county is way ahead of the west when it comes to technology. Phones here are, as a group more advanced for the money, banking is so much easier as everything can be done with the ATM machine.

So as I look to the future of the planet I think perhaps the planet will be looking at Thailand for its answer. You see for decades here we have had the motorcycle taxi. Now if you want to get anywhere at any time of day, there is really only one vehicle which can deliver -- the motorcycle taxi. These crazy people are willing to slip through seems in the gridlock that many needles would shy away from. When the street becomes completely impassable, the sidewalk or even fields beside the road can become a viable means to an end. As gas prices seem to be soaring beyond all expectations, and more hikes expected on a weekly basis, I will suggest for the rest of the world that you should introduce the motorcycle taxi. It's cheap, it's doable, and they can go to places your car could never dream of going anyway.

Most importantly the PRICE IS RIGHT! Motorcycles will be making a huge comeback in the coming decade, because cars and cheap fuel are about to become a thing of memory. Truthfully, who can spend 30% of their monthly earnings to cover transportation? This number was thrown out as an estimate of spending by middle class citizens on the planet Earth. I for one, moved closer to my work and plan to do as much WALKING as I can.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

College Football's Most Memorable

I am a college football fan, and specifically I am a HUSKER fan. I was born and raised in Nebraska, so what else could I be. Recently Sports Illustrated did an article on the names that have survived long after their playing or coaching days were done -- legends of the game. If you came up with 10 names, what would your list be?

After you have thought about it, check out the live link by clicking on the title. You can see who they chose and who they did not. I was NOT HAPPY when Tom Osborn did not appear on this page, but most of the names were not surprising at all. 

Nuts Rule

I get a lot of grief from my friends about always chewing on peanuts, almonds, cashews, or any other squirrel feed I can find. I've just always liked it. But recently I read an article that has defended my love of this natural food. The article comes from National Public Radio's website and was entitled, CAN "BLUE ZONES" TURN BACK THE BIOLOGICAL CLOCK? It was an interesting piece about a study done on some of the oldest people alive today. Most of it was stuff I had heard before, such as exercise in small amounts often during the day seems to prolong life. Living in regions with less stress of course helps. Having an extended and supportive family is seems to give people a reason to live, but I had honestly never heard this one before. The quot below is very optimistic for me:

"One of the idiosyncrasies we discovered is that people who eat nuts four to five times a week, 2 ounces at a time, tend to live two to three years longer than people who don't eat nuts. That was a big surprise for us," Buettner says.

Two to three years is not bad at all!
CHECK out the story on super old people by clicking the title of this article.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Bangkok Protests Getting Bigger

Phot provided by the BBC: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/7466221.stm

The tension is rising in the capital of Thailand. Please check out this link to see some video footage from yesterday's protests. It is looking like something is going to happen. I hope violence is not going to follow, but without a doubt tension is rising and people are starting to push it. You'll see in the video the protesters charged through a police checkpoint line and seem to be moving without any hard line resistance. I fear this may change soon. 

The basic issue at hand is that the congress, made up of Taksin supporters, want to change laws that will make it possible for Taksin to return to Thailand without facing any legal penalties. This group is out to stop that once and for all. It is an issue that is dividing Thailand nearly 50/50. It would seem the protesters are winning over a lot of people, but we can't forget that this government just WON the election a few months ago.  

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Could I be Wrong about McCain?

I really do not like politics, but it is an election year in the nation of my birth. I did a great deal of thinking about the economics of a new president and, wanting the American economy to go further down so that my Thai baht will continue to climb, I had thought that McCain was the natural choice. I know he will continue to force the dollar lower, the price of oil higher, and the housing market will completely collapse. Now this is bad, I know, but then I could afford to come back to America and buy a house really cheap and that would be cool for me. A summer house in the United States and a winter house here in Thailand, this would be awesome.

BUT, Iraq is the other issue at hand in this election and honestly this is of far greater consequence than me having a cheap house back in the states. I am proud of my friends who have gone to Iraq and fought, risking all for a cause that our nation has seen as necessary to protect our freedom. Still, enough it enough. Iraq is never going to be stable. Sorry to be the voice of doom here, but we could stay there for 1 year or 30 years and Iraq will still be fighting. The only thing we have to chose between is this, will Iraqis be killing Iraqis or will they be killing Americans? I don't have a clue what the proper exit plan is, but I do know we need an EXIT plan -- now! As the saying goes, "Sometimes its better to be nowhere than to stay some place your not wanted."

I cut and pasted this from the John McCain website and this is the last straw for me. Please read below to see his views on the war of Iraq. Please click on the title to see all of John McCain's views on his official website.

Strategy for Victory in Iraq The Importance of Succeeding John McCain believes it is strategically and morally essential for the United States to support the Government of Iraq to become capable of governing itself and safeguarding its people. He strongly disagrees with those who advocate withdrawing American troops before that has occurred.It would be a grave mistake to leave before Al Qaeda in Iraq is defeated and before a competent, trained, and capable Iraqi security force is in place and operating effectively. We must help the Government of Iraq battle those who provoke sectarian tensions and promote a civil war that could destabilize the Middle East. Iraq must not become a failed state, a haven for terrorists, or a pawn of Iran. These likely consequences of America's failure in Iraq almost certainly would either require us to return or draw us into a wider and far costlier war.The best way to secure long-term peace and security is to establish a stable, prosperous, and democratic state in Iraq that poses no threat to its neighbors and contributes to the defeat of terrorists. When Iraqi forces can safeguard their own country, American troops can return home.

Killer Storms in Nebraska

Photos by Stacey Owens

Killer storms are hitting my homeland. It is terrifying. Many people are blaming global warming, which of course was caused by George Bush, but I think perhaps it is not his fault but rather the beginning of the end of days. In the past 2 weeks Kearney Nebraska has been hit by tornadoes, and close to Curtis Nebraska there was hail the size of softballs. We truly are in a very dangerous time. We don't even need to mention the hurricanes in Burma, the mud slides in India, or the earth quake in China. The planet Earth is unstable, perhaps angry with us for our lack of care, and now its impossible for anyone to argue that instability is the norm. As the salamander king said, "None of us will get out alive."

Thursday, June 5, 2008

siminoe.com announce's support for McCain

I attempt to live a life basically devoid of politics. In my voting history I am yet to vote for a winner other than Bill Clinton. I am very proud of that vote, because he was a president who actually stopped terrorism with CIA operatives and spooks instead of plunging us into an all out holey war. He also created a nation so prosperous that our economy, for once, was BOOMING to the point of a word most republicans can't even spell -- surplus.
I also love Clinton because he had serious foreign policy. He drew limits that our foreign allies didn't cross, unlike our current administration who get pushed into doing everything the Arab world tells them to do.
"So why, SIM, are you putting your support behind McCain when he would appear to be ready to follow all the same leads which have brought the US economy to a certain collapse?"
Simple. I just love the absolute absurdity of the trickle down economics that plague the Republican party -- it's like watching a cat run into a glass door at full speed. I mean does anybody actually believe this insanity? "Um... you see we give tax breaks and government kick backs (which is collected tax money) to the rich, because they give the poor jobs."
Can they even believe the rubbish which is coming out of their mouths? If so they obviously never met any rich people. I have a lot of rich friends and I got news for you trickle down folks -- the rich don't spend money whether you give it to them for free or not. That's why they are rich! They don't spend money in hand, nor do they spend money on credit. The rich have, innately, a kind of gag reflex to paying a check or to buying something that is over priced or to giving jobs (which pay big salaries) to anyone.
"So Sim, if you don't believe in trickle down and you think tax breaks for the rich actually make the rich richer, why McCain -- cause this guy is an economic fossil."
Again, SIMPLE, my job here in Thailand pays me in THAI BAHT, and as long as the Republicans are in office the US Dollar is going to sink and sink until basically it will be worthless. This is good for me, because then I can send lots of Baht home and build a small fortune in the US. When I moved to the Thailand six years ago the baht was 43 to 1 dollars. Now, thanks to George Bush, it's 32 to 1. I love it. I was never going to make any cash in the US, but now I can make just a little baht and send it home and become RICH.
So it is official, we at Siminoe.com are voting for McCain so that the collapse of the US dollar continues and homes back in America because so cheap that even I, with my little teacher pay, could go home and purchase a really cool house.
Good luck Mr. McCAIN!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Tension in Thailand

Photo by Apichart Weerawong
All around the world political tension is rising. We have all become accustom to seeing protesters clamoring for change and soldiers or police officers being forced to confront the rage which is meant for the ruling party. But I must say it is becoming tense in the capital of Thailand.
Thais are, in general, passive and accepting of others. Still, they have a long tradition of protesting and picketing in order to bring pressure on the government. They had, just over a year ago, a very peaceful coup -- not one shot fired. Elections were guaranteed and those elections put right back into power the party that had been ousted by the coup. Frustrated as many intellectuals and scholars were, the vote was the vote and it was honored. Taksin, the ousted prime minister, is enjoying life in England. He bought a football team over there and is enjoying his time abroad while his followers prepare to change the constitution so that he will not face criminal charges for his money schemes. It is so in the face of the Thai people that there were bound to be protests.
SAMAK, is his long time follower and is now our current prime minister. He is a hard line guy, who most people blame for one of the few protests which did turn bloody back in the 70's when he was a younger politician. By all media accounts he was the one who gave the order for soldiers to FIRE ON UNIVERSITY STUDENTS who were peacefully protesting against him and his party. The number of dead and wounded has been disputed since it happened.
SAMAK is sabre rattling again. He has said, of the 6,000 protesters meeting and making noise in the capital, he has the military power to STOP them if they do not disband soon. All weekend the fear of violence was high, but the group did not go away.
As a foreigner in this land it is difficult for me to know who is the best government for these people. I only know that Thai nature, peaceful and calm, is the best hope we have for avoiding a war. I believe their love of peace will win out over this trouble. Still the tension in some quarters around the city is truly palpable.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Prepare for Alians

Recently my life partner Nan and I revised our alien code. We have had a code since watching a few alien movies, and discussing the fact that if an alien invaded one of our bodies we would need a method of discovering the truth.

Now of course aliens take over people probably fairly regularly, but how can we know. It is my theory that they come into us, we act really really strange, but before they can be detected they depart. I have seen this or at least suspected it many times with women I've known during my life. They can be literally a different person for a few days, often not a person I can either understand nor dare too as they can often be very scary during this possible alien possession, and then back to normal just as suddenly.

Now we must be prepared. So Nan and I have developed a code. It is a three step code, which of course I can't tell you, who knows who is monitoring my blog. But I can tell you our old code. That one was "Christmas" "Merry Christmas" "No, break up Christmas." Now this is an inside joke between us, but the point is, you need -- as a couple -- to come up with a code that only you and your life partner know. And then of course, don't tell anyone. Then the next time your loved one is acting strangely not themselves, ask for the code.

My philosophy is better safe than sorry! And when I say sorry I mean like a rubber snake like thing with fangs popping out of your stomach. OUCH!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

River Giants in the Mekong River

Photos stolen from National Geographic:
The city of Bangkok brags a massive river known as the Mekong. These river giants are the largest freshwater stingrays in the world. A stingray one tenth the size of these killed Steve Irwin with one freakish strike. Imagine the stinger on these babies.
What is very interesting is that Thai people not only boat, fish, and wash their clothes in this river, but they also swim in it -- especially once you get out of Bangkok in the rural areas it is common to see children frolicking in the murky waters of this mighty river.
I will say this, I will no longer go swimming in the Mekong. Of course maybe I would go jet skiing. Jet skiing with these giant ramps floating around could be awesome, I mean if you could catch one just right you could get some major lift. These creatures also mean that if you mess up and crash you could have a serious penalty.
One final thing about the Mekong, it also brags many other giant fish and in fact has the largest freshwater fish in the world. I always assumed the Amazon did, but even though the Amazon is much larger, it doesn't have the big giants like our Mekong.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Myanmar police block aid workers, food piles up

Earlier this year I did a couple of articles about the horror show which is Myanmar. The nation is completely crippled by a corrupt and extremely violent dictatorship known as the Junta government. When rich nations are hit by natural disasters, i.e. the US, chaos can accrue. Yet when natural disasters strike a nation like Myanmar it's not chaotic, it's a systematic genocide. The privileged over there are about to get new privileges in the form of aid relief donations. They are not only blocking aid from coming in from foreign nations or switching the labels on the aid to say the names of generals in order to win favor with the people they are oppressing, but in many cases they are simply stealing the goods and stockpiling them for their private armies.
I am never in favor of the US getting militarily involved in nations outside of their borders, but I am happy to report that the US is the leading nation in pressuring this self appointed government into making change. China and India, on the other hand, are acting negligently and must be seen as a big part of the problem in this 3rd world nation. China has so much influence in their neighbor country that they could easily put an end to the Junta with pressure or just a lack of support, but China says this is an Myanmar internal issue -- so then stop doing so much business and trade with this government.
The world has put blinders on when it comes to this nation for long enough. I am happy to see the US responding to this issue with serious diligence and some real diplomacy. We need other wealthy nations to get on board. They want freedom to vote, they want to form a government that is absent of military tyranny. We don't need to fight their battle for them, but we must try to find ways to help their cause.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Hot Babes Vegas Delivery

Just a last thought about my time back in the USA. I am still considering publishing the toroid sex tales of our host's household pet, but while I was going through some of my photos I came across this random shot we took on the Vegas strip. Time after time, when I tell people I live in Bangkok I get this kind of smirking grin from them. "Bangkok, right," they might say. "I hear it's pretty wild over there." Now I'm not going to say that we don't have a red light district that would rival any major city in the world -- we do, but it is such a small part of the life here that it seldom comes into my thoughts. First of all, our prostitute area is basically down town. Now like most big cities down town is a terrible place to try to get in and out of by car, therefor I seldom venture down there. It is great that our tourists have a place to find the kind of nightlife entertainment they are looking for and it is all right there surrounding the hotels that they frequent. It really has been the tourist industry that loured the prostitutes here. By the way, it's not just Thai girls working down there. The largest growing group of women working the sex for sale zone is Russian, followed of course by Burmese, and Cambodian. Where tourists are throwing money around to have a good time you will usually find 3 things: prostitutes, alcohol, and gambling. Actually Bangkok only has 2 of the 3 vices offered.

So what am I rambling about? Well here's the thing. In truth Bangkok is a very tame city over all. Certainly there are massage parlors, men's spas, and hair cut places that offer sex for cash. In the suburbs, where I live and work, these places are available but they are so woven into the fabric of the city that you -- unless you are looking for them -- won't notice them. Now down town is different, giant massage parlors, discos, strip bars, and very overt prostitution is a bit jarring when you first see it. But in truth Las Vegas Nevada has prostitution down to such a science that it is literally served up to you right at your hotel room.

If you look at the photo from above it basically is saying hot babes sent directly to you. Now we can all wink at each other and say, so a little strip tease in your room -- harmless. But of course everyone knows the strip is just the initial service. All other services cost a lot more and will be negotiated once the performer is in the room. If you have ever walked on the strip in Vegas you will no doubt have been handed a card with photos of beautiful call girls who are also available direct to your door.

I know Bangkok has prostitution, but it's just so distant to those of us who live and work here. I just want people in the US to remember they also have sex for cash in their own country. Hey, what tourists on vacation from their job with the man want to spend their money on is their business. I could care less. I guess I just get a little touchy about the idea that Bangkok Thailand is some kind of morally bankrupt city of sin. If you want to see the other side of life in Thailand, check out ECHO POOL, a novel I wrote with no bar girls or prostitutes in it.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Maco and family Nung and family

Now I had to put up one last set of photos about America. We spent a wonderful afternoon with my good friend Maco, his wife and their lovely daughter. He was a wonderful host as he grilled up some hamburgers and brots and we had wine and beer and yes even a little bit of pie. It was kind of fun because we were celebrating the NEW YEAR for Cambodia and Thailand which is on the same day, but we were doing it American style.
Later in the afternoon we were visited by my close friend Nung and his family. Now Nung is Thai, but lives just down the block from Maco so it was great that they could slip over before they headed to the Thai temple to celebrate.
Even Vietnam was represented as Nhu and Dave came along with us to round out the South East Asian experience.
It was great seeing everyone. Nung's brother, Bui, was one of my closest friends when I lived in Denver. Bui was the kind of guy who you didn't call on the phone and chat with, he was the kind of guy who just showed up at my house, let himself in, and started making noodles for himself, me, and anyone else he'd invited over to my place. He was happiest with a couple of beers in him and may have been one of the most honest men I was ever around. In truth Bui really didn't take care of himself so much, but he always was trying to help others. He passed away this last year from cancer and it was not surprising that all of the soccer players who he'd devoted his time to for years came to his funeral. He was the kind of guy who had patience in a sports world consumed with immediate results, Bui offered his athletes a kind word, and an opportunity to work at it again and again. Losing Bui was very hard on everyone who knew him. He is missed, and especially in a gathering like this where there was food and ice cold beer, I could almost hear his laughter.
This day was another reminder to me of the hardest part of living in Thailand, being away fro the friends I spent my time with in Denver. I was blessed with a great group of friends, and sadly a lot of them I didn't find the time to go see. I wish I had more days to track more of them down.
Well, it's time to get back to my life in Thailand. Still, this was a great trip and one I will not soon be forgetting.

Proud Daddy

What is Greg babbling about?

Proud Mommy

Nung, Nick, and I

Sunday, April 27, 2008

The final day in Denver

Well all good things must come to an end I guess. Denver has been a wonderful stop during our journey. Now it is time for us to head back to Bangkok, so I put together a little video footage of our last day in the mile high city. First we went to meet my good friend and once business partner Dan Dinner at his country club. Dan is one of the guys who really taught me about life and business, and it was marvelous just to see him fit and doing so well.

After our visit with him we went down town for a lunch on the 16Th street mall and then we just cruised around the city a bit taking shots of different land marks such as: Tattered Cover Book Store, the train station, the Broncos stadium which used to be Mile High but is now some corporate thing, and lots of other famous places around down town. Then we went back to the Augustine mansion to wile away our day walking around the pond, sipping wine on the back patio, and then cooking a feast to enjoy for our last supper.

We really had a great time in Denver, seeing friends and family and a few familiar sights. Thanks to everyone who either hosted us, met with us, or put up with us during our visit.

Miracle Buerger

Eli,Dave, Michelle, Karen, and Steve -- the Buergers.

Young Mr. Eli Buerger will forever be known as Miracle. Why is that? Well it's because over a decade ago, that's ten years for my readers in the southern states (just kidding Speedy), the doctors told Karen and Steve -- my first cousins -- that children were out of the question. In fact it was this news that set them on the path to financial success. I mean imagine a double income family, no kids, and not even having to spend on birth control. HELLO SUCCESS! It probably explains the giant house they live in out in the suburbs of Denver close to Boulder, it's truly a beautiful place and now it is the happy home it longed to be. Eli has brought a miracle to the Buerger family. As they say, "God works in mysterious ways," especially while in Mexico pounding tequila shots 'ey Steve!

So please watch this short photo slide to see Mr. Eli's www.siminoe.com premier. He loves the camera!

Friday, April 25, 2008

One Denver day

Teo, Greg, Nan and Sim

Denver is the kind of city that it is easy to find a lot to do. It has so much going on most weekends it's easy to get lost in the chaos. I lived in Denver for close to 15 years and in that time I went through a ski phase, mountain bike phase, volleyball phase, Frisbee stint, weight lifting kick, jogging, kick boxing, and well lots of other adventures. One thing Denver has an abundance of is recreation. If you're into sports or into watching sports its hard to imagine a town with more going on than the mile high city.

So while I was visiting my old stomping grounds, we put together a simple Sunday that was certainly a day to remember. We started with breakfast at Centennial airport where we watched the planes coming and going, then hit some driving range golf balls, then off to Red Rocks for some sun shine, and we wrapped up our Sunday with a down town evening which was highlighted with a NUGGETS NBA game.

It was awesome!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Our Denver Hosts Matteo, Nhu, Dave and Chili

Nhu welcomed us into her home after we survived the blizzardy roads. It was wonderful to be out of the car, once I pried my fingers off the wheel. It had been a while since I'd driven in snow and I must say my nerves, especially because I was too cheap to pay for the rental car's rental insurance, were frayed. But the Augustines were amazing hosts. A good friend once told me that health is wealth and I can't disagree, but since I'm a starving writer I do have a belief that wealth is having wonderful friends who will take you in and not complain if you drink their wine and coffee -- you know the good stuff -- and sleep in their guest bedroom for 6 nights because you can't afford American hotel rates. Well, I have not got a fortune of my own to compare this to anything, but I have been blessed with magnificent friendships and I think it is better. Think of it this way, if I had wealth then I'd have pride which would not allow me to sleep at my friend's home. But, I'm basically destitute so this takes away a man's pride and replaces it with need. Having need allows special and magnanimous people, such as the Augustines, to give. We all know how wonderful it is to give. So yes it is true that we were freeloading while staying with our good friends; however, I like to think of it as, instead of freeloading, as giveoffering (offering them an opportunity to give).
It was a magnificent stay. In my next article we will have the inside scoop of DENVER, more photos of friends and the SECRET SEX LIFE OF CHILI the dog! Two Bangkok kids running around in Denver, what could be more interesting. So come see what trouble we managed to find.

Dave and Nan eager for the food.

Teo welcomes us.