Author Archives: d

Strike

After many years of not bowling I started bowling once in a while with the kids however last time I went alone in the afternoon while they were at school so I could focus. I arrived at the bowling alley with the goal of bowling a 180 or above which is something I’ve only done two or three times in my life and not for the last two decades or so. After a few games I was able to throw a 183 with my right hand and a 150 with my left. Note: I used a 12 pound house ball and only threw straight balls, no hooks. I was so happy with those two last games that I didn’t want to start a new one even though I still had around 10 minutes on my one hour lane rental so instead of starting a new game I decided to try some experimental throws.

I was the only person bowling in the entire place and just as I was about to leave a group of people arrived and were gathering near my lane so for my final shot I positioned myself in front of the lane but I was facing towards the people and away from the pins. I then did a normal pendulum throw but instead of releasing the ball in the front of the swing I held on to it and released it in the back. After releasing the ball I struck a pose that might have been seen in some late 70’s disco and I held it legs split, one arm up, and bent over looking behind me with everything upside down until BOOM, strike! I then stood up and looked up at the group of people who were watching and they all immediately broke into a round of applause. It was hilarious.

Bowling Trick Shots

P.S. I had six types of bananas at my house at the same time so I decided to put them in pairs and take a photo. I wasn’t a big fan of the green ones but the other five were excellent.

Peaceful

I spent most of last month in Thailand and as usual it was lovely and delicious as seen in the photos below. On the way here from Malaysia I took a little cargo boat which was funny because I was the only passenger, there were no seats, and when the guy dropped me off in Thailand I was left to walk to immigration myself. When I got to the window I was the only person there and the immigration officer was like “How did you get here?”. I told him I took a little boat from Malaysia and he said I couldn’t do that because those boats weren’t permitted to carry passengers and they had none of the necessary documents for bringing people in and out of the country. I said Ok I’ll make sure I get the proper documents before boarding such a vessel in the future and after talking with one of his colleagues he stamped me in.

Now it’s November 1st and I’m in a minibus on my way back to Malaysia because I told the kids I’d be back for Diwali aka “Hindu festival of lights” which according to Wikipedia “symbolizes the spiritual victory of light over darkness, good over evil and knowledge over ignorance”. They’re going to have a party to celebrate and are preparing a dance for tomorrow. Then a few weeks after the Diwali holiday is their longest school holiday of the year which lasts from late November to January. I promised them I’d stick around until the end of December and take them out for some activities but after that I plan on returning to Thailand and I might head to China in the spring so it looks like any volunteering in 2019 will have to be done via the occasional video call which is what I’ve been doing the past few weeks.

Honey

Today I took I took two 12 year-old kids with me to get vegetables at an organic vegetable shop and there were these sticks of honey at the register, basically little plastic straws filled with pure honey. I don’t like straws but I thought it’d be a nice treat for the kids in lieu of the ice cream I wouldn’t get them. However the lady that worked there that I see every week said there was no need to buy the individually packed ones and that I could take the rest of the honey remaining in a small glass jar she had which was provided to the shop as a sample by the company branding and selling honey.

The two kids tried it before I even started the car but the Chinese kid said it tasted sour, I smelled it and confidently said that it seemed fine to me and thought she thought it was sour because she ate it with some fresh soy yogurt which is supposed to be sour. I also asked the other kid who thought it was fine. Moreover I did a search on my phone and it seems that pure honey generally lasts a really long time before going bad. However while examining the jar we noticed that the expiration date was in JULY… as you know it is now October. The problem is that it’s now October 2018 and the JULY I’m referring to was in 2017.

The Indian kid in the back didn’t understand what we were talking about in Mandarin but me and the Chinese kid in front were laughing so hard we almost puked, me papaya and her JULY 2017 Rosemary honey from a half-used sample jar. We quickly informed the Indian kid sitting in back not to eat the honey and then went back into the shop to tell the nice lady working there that she gave us honey that had a JULY 2017 expiration date. I then bought two of the airtight sealed honey sticks I originally planned on getting. Moral of the story, always check expiration dates on any packaged food you consume and don’t trust anyone to have done it for you.

P.S. That little girl I talked about last month is still with her mentally ill mother but is being supervised by her uncle and is going to school regularly so that seems to have worked out.

August

It’s August 31st 8:45am here in Malaysia. Today is Malaysian national day and I’m sitting in front of a dilapidated apartment on the 22nd floor of an old 23 story apartment building waiting for it’s two occupants, a mother and her 9 year-old daughter, to wake up. I got here at around 8:30am and figured that while I was waiting I should write a blog post since one was due today. I could just go ahead and knock on the door but then they’d probably just pretend they aren’t home so I’ll wait here until they wake up and make some noise then they won’t be able to pretend they aren’t here. They can still ignore me but at least they’ll know that I know they are here.

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July

August arrived so fast I almost forgot to post something. I volunteered full-time at a children’s shelter all throughout July with the exception of 5 days I spent in Thailand. I went back to get my skateboard, slackline, and some other things I wanted for my summer stay here in Penang. After looking at these photos I took while I was in Thailand you’ll see why I really don’t like leaving there to come here. The plan of coming back and only going in to volunteer for a couple hours a day completely failed however I feel that all the time spent volunteering last month was time well spent because the directors and I have been making a lot of improvements in the way the home is run and the way the kids are fed and raised. Moreover these improvements will go on to not only benefit these 30 or so kids but also any new ones that end up living and being cared for here.

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June

For the last two weeks I’ve been volunteering at a children’s shelter full-time and between that and some unexpected but welcomed work I haven’t had much if any time to think about what to post so pardon me as I try to put something together at the last minute. A couple months back I promised some kids that I’d come back to visit them during their school holiday in June. I told them I would only be staying here in Malaysia for one week however when I tried to leave last week I was unable to deny the earnest pleas of a few little girls who really wanted me to stay. Some of them even went as far as vowing to eat only vegetables and to never eat candy if I stayed, haha. I told them such vows were unnecessary and that regardless of whether or not I stayed they should try their best to eat more vegetables and less candy.

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Dog Bite

There was a tokay gecko at the restaurant near my home and the owners wanted it gone because it was defecating all over their kitchen. A couple of weeks ago I saw it on the wall so I grabbed a kitchen towel to protect myself from it’s blood-drawing bite and captured it. I then proudly showed the owners the big gecko and one of them asked if he could kill it which is what they probably do to any tokay geckos that try taking up residence at their restaurant.

I was like why would you want to kill such a beautiful specimen when you could just walk across the street, a little ways into the forest, and release it into the wild. I told them that’s where I was headed and that I first just wanted to show them the fellow that’s been shitting all over their kitchen. The point of this introduction is to tell you that I had no reason to venture out onto the road and into the forest that night and only did so so I could release this tokay gecko.

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Coconut Fatality

A man that lived down the street from me died a few days ago. He was conversing with a neighbor near a coconut tree and…, no a coconut didn’t fall on is head, it was even worse, a coconut fell from the tree, bounced off of a rock, and then hit him in the head. He was taken to the hospital where he spent 3 nights before being discharged and returning home for a family wedding being held at his house and right after the wedding he died. There was a gathering all week at that house, first for the wedding and then for the funeral. I thought I’d share this sad story with you and remind you to be grateful you haven’t died in any freak accidents because any of us could at any time. Hopefully we won’t but the low probability of such an event shouldn’t leave you thinking you’ll always have another day to get something done or to mend a relationship with someone.

Enjoy the full moon tonight and this frog photo I took last month.

Mercy Killing

Today as I was cleaning around my porch I lifted up a plastic crate and gently tossed it over to the side. Unfortunately there was a gecko stuck to the bottom of it which was nearly decapitated when the crate landed. No surgery I could’ve performed could’ve repaired the severed spinal cord of this poor house gecko. I’ve seen paralyzed dogs using dog wheelchairs however for a gecko that makes a living running up walls this was not an option. So I did the humane thing and smashed its head in with one swift swing of a wooden juggling club. I then grabbed it by its still twitching tail and tossed it into the creek next to my house because I knew it would be immediately eaten by one of the snakeheads that live under the rocks and wait for lizards, frogs, and any other edible items to fall into the water.

I’ve performed a couple other mercy killings over the years but the one that came to mind today was one that took place a couple of months ago at a children’s shelter. There was a sick and/or injured pigeon flopping around in front of the building and although I didn’t know what was wrong with it I could tell by its limp neck and the way it was moving that it was going to die within a day or maybe within hour. I already knew my answer but I asked the kids that were with me at the time if we should let it lay in the sun and let the ants go to work on it until it eventually dies or should we put it out of its misery. We went inside to get out of the sun to discuss the matter. At first a couple of the kids were shocked that I, the person that doesn’t even eat animals, would propose killing one however as we laid out the bird’s only options they started agreeing with me.

As we discussed the matter I saw another kid though the window, a 5 year old boy who was about half the age of the kids I was discussing the matter with, approaching the sick and/or injured bird with a badminton racket and before I could say anything to him he smashed it over the head. We all ran outside to find a dead bird and a little kid still holding the murder weapon with a “How am I going to get out of this one.” expression. It was ironic because we had pretty much come to the consensus that the best thing to do was to kill the bird however the problem was the kid that performed the execution knew nothing of our deliberations and just wanted to smash a bird over the head with a badminton racket. I brought him inside and explained to him in simple English that it was wrong to hit animals and that they should be treated kindly but I also told him that he was lucky that that particular animal was very sick and was already going to die.

Environmental Protection

The Environmental Protection Agency should not be led by an environmental polluters advocate. It’s Time to Fire Scott Pruitt.

You can also tell Congress to fire Scott Pruitt via this link from Friends of the Earth.

E.P.A. Prepares to Roll Back Rules Requiring Cars to Be Cleaner and More Efficient

P.S. The durians in Penang are dropping over a month earlier than usual. Last week I bought some for the kids and before they devoured it I took this photo.

 

Yawning Macaque

Happy Lunar New Year! Lantern Festival is tomorrow which marks the final day of the New Year’s celebrations which means I now only have one more New Year’s celebration to put up with, Songkran. As planned I returned to Malaysia in early February to visit the kids at the children’s shelter. A week and a half ago I came across a box of nectarines that were a bit over-ripe but I could tell they were still good so I bought a few of them. When I got home and ate them I was surprised by just how good they were, so good. So I said I gotta go back to that supermarket in the morning as soon as they open to get the rest of those nectarines!

The next morning I showed up just as they were opening and headed straight for the nectarines. I got there just in time because the guy working in the fruit area said he was about to throw them all in the garbage. Instead of throwing them out he gave them all to me, like 30 small ones for only $1.25! After bringing them all home I threw two or three bad ones into the compost bag and ate over 20 of them for breakfast which amounted to a total of 2.2kg of glorious nectarine pulp. Hoooooo!!! Also If you were in Penang last week and lost 14 Malaysian Ringgit (3.50USD) I picked it up on the side of the street and rather than pocketing it and profiting from your loss I used it to buy more bananas for the kids so now you don’t need to feel bad about losing it. Have a nice March, I’ll post again on April 1st.

 

Slow Loris

I returned to Thailand earlier this month and have been here catching up on some thoughts and things that I put on hold while in Malaysia however as promised I will be going back to visit the kids in Penang next week. Before I do I decided to do the 40 hour water fast that I wanted to do around New Years but put off until I was back in Thailand. As I write this 30 hours in I thought it’d be a good opportunity to challenge you to not eat for a full day and to follow up with an improved plant based diet and healthier eating habits. In the meantime here’s a challenge you can do right now.

Enjoy the full moon and I’ll chime in again a month from now,
d

P.S. Here’s a slow loris photo I managed to get a couple weeks ago with a camera in one hand and a flashlight in the other along with a few recent photos of the kind of habitat you’re likely to find a slow loris or me living in. I also saw a colugo aka kubong a couple weeks ago but I was unable to get a photo. Speaking of forest gliders I had a paradise tree snake on my porch earlier this month and although I haven’t seen any flying dragon lizards this year I did have a couple fly past me while I was in the forest a few months ago.

Snake Takes Flight

Flying Dragons Of The Jungle

Kubong Gliding Through the Trees

The Truth Behind the Slow Loris Pet Trade

  

Happy New Year!

I hope you had a good 2017 and I hope your 2018 will be even better. I’ve been in Penang for the past few months because I had some visa issues in Thailand. The Thai consulate here in Penang red-stamped my passport for too many back-to-back tourist visas and told me that if I wanted to stay long-term I needed a proper long-term visa. The problem is such a visa is a bit of a pain to get, much more so than a tourist visa which doesn’t require many documents, a Thai spouse, or a Thai sponsor, e.g., a business or school. The red warning stamp usually means they won’t issue you any more tourist visas at least not for a while or perhaps until you apply in your home country rather than in one of the countries bordering Thailand however I wrote them a letter explaining why I needed one more and luckily they gave one to me. That last 60 day + 30 day extension = 90 day tourist visa finished in October. When I stopped flying in order to do my part to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions I was afraid this would happen. Before I could fly once a year from Thailand to Taiwan and back and that eliminated the need for me to get too many back-to-back visas in either place. If only Taiwan was a short train ride away from my home in Thailand like Malaysia is.

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A Terrible Decision

If making America great again means going against the strong, sincere, and wise recommendations of just about every citizen on planet earth including the nation’s and the world’s top business leaders and seriously damaging U.S. credibility and moral standing in the world in order to take a selfish, immoral, and irresponsible unilateral action which is against the wishes of the majority of the citizens you’re supposed to represent and with no concern of the immediate and long-term effects it will have on others in and outside of the U.S. then Mr. Trump you, Bannon, and Pruitt are off to a good start and I assure you that you’ve made history, just not the kind your grandchildren are going to be proud of.

As for where to go from here, are your senators one of the 22 that recently signed a letter urging Trump to pull the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Agreement? Have you contacted them and expressed your extreme disapproval of their position on climate change and role in this disastrous decision?

Don’t just blame Trump for quitting the Paris deal — blame the Republican Party

The Republicans who urged Trump to pull out of Paris deal are big oil darlings

Tell your Governor to uphold the standards of the Paris Agreement.

Add your name to condemn Trump’s reckless abandonment of the Paris Climate Agreement!

P.S I’m still thinking about what to do with this blog and about what I can do to help mitigate the environmental damage caused by profligate individuals living in America and around the world. I hope to have something figured out and started by the end of the year. In the meantime have fun being alive on a planet that isn’t nearly as beautiful as it once was but is still awesome.

Individual action: what you can do about climate change

Climate Change

Don’t just blame Trump for quitting the Paris deal — blame the Republican Party

The Republicans who urged Trump to pull out of Paris deal are big oil darlings

Tell your Governor to uphold the standards of the Paris Agreement.

Add your name to condemn Trump’s reckless abandonment of the Paris Climate Agreement!

Individual action: what you can do about climate change

Seven Things to Know About Climate Change

A List of Climate Change Solutions From Drawdown.org

Contact: White House     U.S. Senate     U.S. House of Representatives

Support: Natural Resources Defense Council   EarthJustice   350.org   The Climate Reality Project   Greenpeace

P.S I’m still thinking about what to do with this blog and about what I can do to help mitigate the environmental damage caused by profligate individuals living in America and around the world. I hope to have something figured out and started by the end of the year. In the meantime have fun being alive on a planet that isn’t nearly as beautiful as it once was but is still awesome.

Monsoon Season

2017 begins much like 2016 ended, rain and more rain. After a few days of heavy rain the once peaceful little creek that ran along the side of my home has swollen into a raging river. I’m not too worried about that however I am a bit worried about all the rain bringing down a large tree on a steep slope that has my roof in its sights. Earlier today I went to pick some fruit but was unable to make it to the orchard due to much bigger raging river. I thought about testing my luck but if the rapidly moving knee deep water that was covering the narrow bridge took out one of my legs the other would certainly follow and I’d be washed off the bridge and pummeled against many boulders as I was sent downstream so it wasn’t worth it, not even for some rollinia.

December

Today is the first day of the last month of the year and I hope this month will be far less disappointing than last month. I’ve been relatively busy with work and thinking deep thoughts the past couple weeks so you may have noticed I haven’t been posting like I was Pre-Trump. I won’t be chiming in here again until New Years however in the meantime I will continue to try and help get important links noticed on Twitter.

P.S. A friend of someone I buy fruit from got hit by a car a few days ago in front of the fruit sellers home, went into a coma, and died a few days later. It reminded me of a very promising individual who was hit and killed on his bike at the age of 14 by a careless driver so with both of them in mind I say please be careful on and around the road especially if you happen to be in Thailand or in one of the few other places with as abysmal of a traffic safety record.

DJT at NYT

In an interview at the New York Times yesterday President-elect Trump said he was open minded and carefully looking at the issue of climate change. Now more than ever is the time to voice your support for the Paris Climate Agreement and the Clean Power Plan. Please contact the President-elect and urge him to stay in the Paris Climate Agreement, ensure the U.S. keeps it’s Paris commitments, and continues to lead the world in its effort to curb climate change!

The evidence is overwhelming and we have far too much to risk.

Tweet to him.

Send him a message on Instagram.

Share your thoughts with him on Facebook.

Contact him via the Presidential transition website.

Trump’s Presidential Transition Update

In a video updating the world on his presidential transition and explaining some of his policy plans for his first 100 days in office Trump said he will “Cancel job-killing restrictions on the production of American energy”, i.e., he will cancel health and environmental protecting restrictions on the production of dirty, unsustainable, and climate change exacerbating energy.

If Trump continues down this road pushed along by the likes of climate change denier Myron Ebell he will not only hurt America’s chance to lead the world in renewable energy he will also hurt humanity’s chance to avoid the most devastating effects of climate change; and all in exchange for some coal industry profits and a few unhealthy and unsafe jobs for people to blow up mountain tops, crawl into coal mines, burn coal, and dispose of coal ash.

If you like this a video sign this petition from the organization that made it.

Keep fossil fuel industry funded climate change deniers like Myron Ebell away from the EPA

The petition can be found here and if you agree please sign, comment, and help it get noticed. Also please support this petition as well along with any similar ones you may find because it’s important that those of us who care about maintaining and furthering the progress made in addressing climate change over the past 8 years are as vocal as possible because the best shot we have at positively influencing the path the Trump administration takes on climate change, and other issues, over the next four years is NOW.

I stole the following article from the Steve Bannon run Breitbart News, which I just read is now the most widely-read conservative site in America, because I didn’t want to link to it and give them the benefit of a few extra clicks on their advertisement loaded website that keeps automatically reloading and is severely affecting my internet speed. I re-post this article not to make you cringe but to give you some background on the guy we’re trying to get fired and in hopes it will motivate you to support this petition.

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