Running into Water

When arriving at a beach on a hot sunny day it’s tempting to go running into the water, many people even do a run into a dive. I strongly recommend you NOT do this without checking the water first because you never know what lurks just beneath its surface. Have fun at the beach but be careful not to wreck yourself on a rock. No I didn’t wreck myself on those rocks but I’m sure people have and more will in the future. Since they were way too big and embedded for me to move out of a swimming area frequented by tourists which assume it’s rock free I thought I’d issue a little safety announcement that applies to beaches everywhere in hopes it will save at least one person from kicking or diving into a rock. I also sent an email and these two pics to the local beach/park management because although I don’t think it’s necessary to alter natural surroundings in order to careless-tourist-proof everything I do think they should pull up those three rocks which are really in a bad spot.

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Mind Your Own Business

I agree. The problem is that my idea of what’s my business as an adult human greatly differs from that of most people and I hope yours does too because if everyone broadened the scope of what they considered to be their business and spoke out or lent a hand when needed the world would get a lot better in a lot less time than it would have otherwise.

Last week I told a parent, and onlookers, that it’s 100% wrong, i.e., no gray area and not up for debate, to make a child who is only around 7 or 8 years old wear a niqab whenever she leaves the house as this essentially eliminates the possibility of her interacting with children outside of her cult and communicating with her face in public. I guess her father felt it was time she covered her entire body from head to toe including her face so she wouldn’t be “flaunting her beauty” in public.

We should all speak out when we see child abuse regardless of its form, e.g., an overdone and out-of-control spanking that turns into a beating or when a child is fed so improperly that their health is in jeopardy. I decided to write this after reading an article entitled “Should You Intervene When a Parent Harshly Disciplines a Child in Public?”. My answer is YES. I’ve intervened in overdone and out-of-control child beatings on at least three occasions and I hope the next time you see a child being abused you’ll calmly say something that helps stop it and hopefully reduces the likelihood of a future incident.

YouTube Tips

I saw a useful video on the YouTube Trending page today. Here are a few of the YouTube tips featured in it.

shift + < = decrease playback speed
shift + > = increase playback speed

J = go back 10 seconds
K = pause
L = go forward 10 seconds

When paused:
, = go back one frame
. = go forward one frame

0 = return to start of video
9 = jump to the 90% point
1-8 for anywhere in between

up = increase volume
down = decrease volume
left = back 5 seconds
right = back 5 seconds

A Day Out

Yesterday I spent the night at a fruit farm in the middle of fruit season and you don’t get any more “right place right time” than that! Early this morning I went tree climbing for ripe fruit and after breakfast the owner offered me to use his scooter so I went to a couple places in the area that I wouldn’t have gone to otherwise since there was no public transportation available to get to them and I didn’t have enough time to try my luck at hitchhiking which is generally pretty good and is what got me there and back home this evening.

Today was the first time, and probably the last time, I’ve ridden or driven any vehicle that wasn’t powered by my legs this year. Besides being super convenient it was also pretty fun and although scooters burn fossil fuels just like your average car they do it way more efficiently. The scooter I rode around on today got somewhere around 51km/l or 120 mpg. The only way you’re going to match that with the average new car is by loading it up with 4 or 5 passengers and that’s only if you compare it to a scooter with one person rather than a scooter with two or three which is very common here.

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Please Quit Smoking

It’s sad to see so many people still addicted to tobacco. I understand the ignorance and/or selfishness that allows most people to live as if they don’t care about the future of the biosphere and the people who will inhabit it however it’s harder to understand how someone could care so little about themselves and those around them that they’d regularly go out of their way to poison themselves and, inadvertently, those around them.

I’m not just referring to the stomach churning unpleasantness of having to speak to a smoker up close or the health hazard of having to breathe their secondhand smoke I’m referring to the harm caused by their willingness to accept such low standards when it comes to their own personal health and quality of life. If a smoker accepts such low health standards when it comes to themselves what kind of health standards do you think they will apply to everyone else? How about to animals other than humans and the biosphere as a whole?

I’m far more concerned about the harm smokers cause others and the burden they place on the health care system than I am with the harm they cause themselves however we can’t ignore the former if we hope to make progress with the latter. Therefore to all smokers and anyone else who doesn’t respect themselves as much as they should I remind you that you have too much potential as a human being to live the rest of your life with a completely unnecessary self-induced health handicap therefore I urge you to make an all-out effort to quit smoking.

18 Ways Smoking Affects Your Health

Smoking can cause permanent damage to DNA

Resources to help you create a quit plan and quit smoking permanently.

Easily Rectified Hazards

Anyone who’s lived or traveled in less developed countries learns quickly to consistently watch their head and where they place their feet. Over the years I have on countless occasions avoided stepping into holes, getting poked in the eyes, or smashing my head into something that shouldn’t have been hanging down or jutting out into a public space. However I’ve also had my share of fails and this morning was one of them. As I was squeezing past people at the market I snagged my thigh on a nail that was jutting about 3cm out of a table. Luckily it was the head of the nail but it still hurt and could’ve resulted in a tetanus infection had it broken the skin. Thanks organic cotton shorts! Continue reading

Mid-Autumn Festival

Today is Mid-Autumn Festival which means if you look up into the night sky and you’re lucky enough to have a clear view you’ll see a big bright full moon. This year the festival falls on September 15th however it changes every year and next year it will be on October 4th. Although the date changes from year to year on the Gregorian calendar it’s the same every year on the Chinese lunisolar calendar and falls on the 15th day of the 8th month.

If you’re unfamiliar with this holiday which is celebrated in China, around East Asia, and in Chinese communities around the world it’s kind of like Thanksgiving in the States except that it takes place on the full moon and enjoying the full moon with family and friends is a big part of it. Also instead of turkey the signature food of the event are mooncakes which are little dense cakes that come with a variety of fillings and flavors. Happy Mid-Autumn Festival!

mid-autumn-festival

Drunk Driving

During my evening walk I passed a strategically placed sobriety checkpoint that was swarming with cops. I saw one guy handcuffed and sitting in the back of a police pickup and I’m guessing the police intend on getting a few more people into the back of that truck before heading back. Considering the prevalence of drunk driving around here I don’t think they’ll have a problem doing so, in fact I think they might need another truck.

The worst is when people come to work drunk… and their job is to drive people around on a motorcycle without helmets. I’ve had a couple encounters in which I gave stern lectures. I’m not writing this to tell anyone how to care for their liver but I am telling everyone: DO NOT DRINK AND DRIVE and if you want a few reasons why not to do such an irresponsible thing have at look all these people who are now dead due to a drunk driver. M.A.D.D.

P.S. Although I’ve never consumed alcohol and even if I did I would still never get behind the wheel, one thing I have done a few times in my teens and early twenties is drive throughout the night without sleep and drive during the day after a near-sleepless night. Very dangerous and extremely dumb because no matter how loud the music is when you’re body needs to sleep it will sleep, even if you absolutely refuse to shut your eyes. Luckily I didn’t cause any harm but many others have during periods of micro-sleep or all out naps at the wheel.

‘In the Blink of an Eye’: Dozing While Driving

Durian

For me premium durian is like creamy bitter sweet chocolate pudding with nutty and sulfuric undertones that will leave your taste buds in bliss and the rest of your mouth with a pleasant sensation of slight numbness provided you’re lucky enough to get one that’s just taken a hard fall from a good tree. Depending on the species, cultivar, and age of the tree there’s a wide variety of durian scents and flavors not to mention textures, colors, shapes, and sizes. There’s also a wide range of quality much of which depends on whether a durian was cut from a tree unripe and consumed days or weeks after harvest and if ripening chemicals were used, or whether it dropped from the tree naturally and fully ripe and was consumed within minutes or hours after harvest.

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Third Time This Year

For the first 15 years of this century I recall visiting an emergency room twice however over the past 5 months I’ve visited the same one 3 times. Today’s visit was the result of a fall while bouldering. I landed barefoot on a rock which snagged my second smallest toe and snapped it like a popsicle stick. I didn’t need a ruler to tell me that thing was pointed in the wrong direction, gross/ouch. I immediately ripped the worn-out organic cotton t-shirt I was wearing into a bandage and used it to tie my bad toe to a good one. I then made my way to the hospital for an X-ray. Continue reading

Kids and Candy

I just saw a video featuring a little girl freaking out as her blood sugar spiked on her first dose of cotton candy similar to the way a person might freak out upon snorting their first line of coke. How is this cute or funny? Sure the kid is cute but all kids are cute because evolution made them that way so annoyed parents wouldn’t beat or abandon them, but how is feeding a kid sugar, not cereal or some other legitimate food with sugar in it, but straight up sugar, food coloring, and artificial flavor anything other than irresponsible and disgusting?

Please don’t use candy and soft drinks to reward or bribe children or elevate such “foods” to be some kind of a special treat. Instead make them out to be what they are which is garbage disguised as food by setting a good example and encouraging kids to eat healthy. Fresh fruit might not give the same jolt as pure sugar but it’s a much better option. Also before recommending or putting kids on drugs to calm them down after they’ve been fed garbage why not recommend or change their diets first by adding more fruits and vegetables and eliminating the sugar and oil along with any processed and/or factory farmed meats and dairy.

Childhood Obesity Facts

Three-quarters of people don’t know about the link between obesity and cancer

Scapegoating Immigrants

I just read a news story regarding that sexual assault at the beach. The authorities now have the suspect in custody and surprise surprise he is a Thai man. I say it like that because the couple who told me the story the day it happened were told by their Thai friends, without them even having seen or heard the attacker, that he was a Burmese man to which I replied “bullshit”. I knew odds are it was a Thai guy simply due to the fact that in Thailand there are like 35 Thai guys for every 1 Burmese guy. Scapegoating immigrants is a common tactic used by insecure people everywhere and in the U.S. they even have a presidential candidate who’s made it a major part of his political platform.

Anti-mask Laws

Although I dislike the idea of legislating a dress code and infringing upon the personal freedom of individuals to wear what they want, or in the case of hijabs, niqabs, and burqas “want”, I do support banning burqas, niqabs, ski masks, and any other identity-concealing attire in public spaces because arguments regarding the oppressive and divisive nature of the religious clothing in question aside these garments pose a legitimate security concern. Continue reading

Sweetened Beverage Tax

It’s difficult to tax unhealthy food because it’s difficult to determine where exactly to the draw the line. A hotdog stuffed with cheese isn’t the healthiest option for the consumer, the consumed, or the planet but it’s still food that provides anyone who dares to eat it with essential nutrients… and perhaps an increased risk of having a heart attack or developing colon cancer among other diseases. However with beverages it’s easy to determine where to draw the line: anything with an added sweetener.

In terms of public health sweetened beverages are more like alcohol and cigarettes than they are “cheesedogs” therefore they should be subjected to the same types of sin tax in order to dissuade people from consuming them. Taxes should be used as a tool to incentivize behavior conducive to the health of individuals, society, and the environment and I’d say a sweetened beverage tax clearly falls into this category so if you’re city, state, or country is considering placing a tax on sweetened beverages please consider supporting it.

Berkeley vs. Big Soda

Berkeley’s Soda Tax Is Working And That Could Be A Game Changer

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Am I Dreaming or Am I Dead?

Yesterday I decided to go to a hot springs not too far from where I live to soak for a few minutes and swim like a beaver in the muddy brown river that runs next to it. I went to the bus stop to get on a “local bus” which are generally 30 year-old mid-size Japanese trucks with a cap and two benches running along the bed. I happened to know the driver who was in line to take off next and he just happened to be taking the afternoon off and was going to the hot springs to nurse his knee so I went with him. I’ll refer to him as K. K is in his mid sixties and speaks so loudly that I need to use my earbuds as earplugs when I sit up front with him. Continue reading

Stalactite Stitch

While in a cave this afternoon I bumped my head on a stalactite. After confirming there was a decent amount of blood leaking from the back of my head I rushed back to civilization to have my scalp pulled back together. Stitches without any procaine aka novocaine, ouch. Luckily I only needed one. The grand total for my emergency room visit was $13. Such a simple and quick procedure probably would’ve cost over $500 in the States. Maybe Republican voters in the U.S. wouldn’t fear socialized medicine so much if they knew how cheap and efficient it could be. Thanks Ministry of Public Health Thailand and all the wealthy and middle class people who paid a little more in taxes so they themselves and everyone else could have access to affordable health care. Physicians for a National Health Program

stalactite stitch

Crappy Tourists

Don’t be a crappy tourist. Instead try to set a positive example for the locals regardless of which country you visit and which country you’re from. For instance bring your own reusable shopping bags along with a food container so you don’t need to waste plastic bags and foam boxes. Considering you already did some serious environmental damage traveling to your destination when you get there the least you can do is try not to produce so much garbage and to properly dispose of any garbage you do create. Also don’t get drunk in public. If you’re into alcohol and you won’t be driving a car or riding a scooter then a couple of drinks isn’t a problem however getting drunk often is. Anyway I just thought I’d mention that after seeing a lot of crappy tourists this year and after hearing about those lying U.S. swimmers in Rio.

Long Walk

After hearing about the recent bombings in southern Thailand I figured a few people might visit my site to see if I posted anything about it so I figured I’d post something, but not about it. So what’s up? This past weekend I went for a long walk, about 28km or 17 miles. I set out after a big breakfast at the morning market with no destination in mind. I just knew I wanted out of my room and away from my notes so I started walking. After a couple hours of walking I came across some caves which I did some climbing in and then after a couple more hours of walking I came across a creek which I took a bath in. After that I hitchhiked back home and eventually refueled with a few organically grown tree-ripened bittersweet durians followed by a load of vegetables. Continue reading

Earth Day Every Day

Today representatives from over 160 countries are meeting in New York to sign the Paris Climate Agreement reached last December. With all the talk about country/government commitments we must remember that curbing climate change isn’t just about what countries/governments pledge to do it’s also what each of us as individuals pledge/try to do. Future technological solutions to societies environmental problems are welcomed but in the meantime lets use some common sense and not be so wasteful or consume without considering the consequences. Thanks for living like you care and helping inspire others to do the same.

Show Me the Money

I picked up my visa in the afternoon as soon as they started handing them out to all the people that applied the morning yesterday and as soon as I got it I dashed for the border taking a series of local buses in hopes that, unlike last time, I could get through before dark. I made it to the border crossing at dusk and when it was almost my turn to get checked out and stamped in a guy from Singapore in front of me who arrived with me on the same bus told me to put 1 MYR in my passport with my arrival card to speed things up. I told him I would not be doing that and was thinking not only would I not give them the equivalent of a U.S. quarter for simply doing their job and be complicit in corruption I wouldn’t even give them a penny, not even a really dirty one I was just looking to get rid of. Continue reading