Saturday, July 20, 2013

Bang your stick

That line is not mine. I mean I can't take it off my head since reading [Alan's] Marilyn's "You can choose; or go with armour, helmets... pantomime, theatricals, warlike women or big sticksIt's probably too much Nanny McPhee. I have become a fan of the unruly children-featuring film since becoming a mom to a handful.

Anyway, sticks. Perhaps something like a sceptre will do? And I got this photo from a recent Golden Reign Exhibit,  with exactly just that.

Known as Rama IX, Thailand's American-born King Bhumibol Adulyadej is the world's longest-serving current head of state and longest-reigning monarch in Thai history (Wikipedia) He is also the world's richest royal with a fortune estimated to be worth more than $30 billion (Forbes). 

King Bhumibol (pronounced POH-mee-pahd) is shown on the photo with his wife, Queen Sirikit and son, crown prince Vajiralongkorn, holding his sceptre, which is adorned by Garuda, a mythical half-bird, half-human figure.

Being Thailand's national symbol, the Garuda can be seen everywhere in the kingdom. What I have not seen is a follow-up report of that 546-carat diamond said to adorn the King's sceptre to commemorate the 50th anniversary of his ascension to the throne.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

The rain, the catfish and the chedi

Rain. I associate it with a weekend spent with friends frolicking with an army of tame fish in a national park. I remember it because that was when I learned that to deliberately stand in the rain just for the fun of it is sheer joy. The other reason was these delightful swish-swooshing catfish 

They sense it when people approach. They come near as if they know dinner is served.  We fed them string beans. What a greedy bunch!

Further up a slope as we continued to hike we found this moss-covered chedi made from laterite. It was built to commemorate King Rama and Queen Sunantha's visit to the park in 1876. Queen Sunantha drowned when the royal boat capsized in the Chao Phrya river. 

A Wikipedia entry describes the drowning, "despite the presence of many onlookers they were forbidden on pain of death to touch the queen - not even to save her life."  Nearby is a sign that forbids anyone to come near if they are not properly dressed. I took this shot using my phone from a distance. Perfect thing to do after the rain has stopped.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Literary takedowns

This post is linked with: Booking Through, Thursday 13 

My dog just had his birthday (12 years old, thanks), so … how do you feel about books about dogs or pets? Fluffy stories of fluffy family members? Solid books on training them or taking care of them? Touching reminiscences of trouble and the way a person’s dog (or pet) has helped get them through?

(Mind you, almost all the pet-related books on my shelf are about dogs, but I’m well aware that people love their cats, horses, ferrets, rabbits, fish, etc. just as much, so … any species is fine!)

Any favorite books to recommend?
 Mozart (r) on his first birthday with guest/buddy Shopao (l, neighbor's pooch)

I notice, browse and admire those books about dogs but I actually do not have any of them. When I had my fur son I read about how to take care of him online and just asked his vet whenever I needed a quick question answered. Guess I was more keen on spoiling him. The spoiling took its toll. He turns 12 in August and behaves like a cat, eg. feeling entitled.

If I want Mozart to come to me I don't say "come" but "bye-bye, Mo." When it's bath time he suddenly gets busy pretending the noodle ad he's watching on TV is of national importance. Fur parents like me should probably read When Pigs Fly!: Training Success With Impossible Dogs. Or maybe someone should write us a book like When Pigs Fly: Training Success With Spoiled Rotten Poodles.

I have lots of DVDs that feature dogs though. One of my faves is Lassie Come Home. I can't stand stories or anything in the news that show dogs or any animal being mistreated.

Serious reading I did for Mozart was after my divorce when I had to pack him to Grandma's house. It was international travel. The process involved customs, quarantines, airline regulations on flying pets and government to government communications. It was major stress.

Now that we're back to normal I am eyeing a fun read called Arlo Needs Glasses. Here's the book trailer if you want to watch -

 ~ x ~

Thursday 13: literary takedowns. What do you think of authors or editors bashing other authors or their works? Have you had a fave author or work attacked? What was your reaction?
1.   V.S. Naipul against Jane Austen
2.   Stephen King against Stephenie Meyer
3.   Kathryn Schulz against F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby
4.   Christian Lorentzen against Alice Munro (Poor Rose)
5.   Joseph Epstein against Franz Kafka (overrated?)
6.   Mark Twain against Fenimore Cooper (his Literary Offenses)
7.   Oliver Wendell Holmes against Plato 
8.   David Foster Wallace against John Updike (Phallocrat)
9.   George Bernanrd Shaw against Shakespeare
10. Lord Byron against Chaucer
11. Nabokov against Dostoyevksky
12. Bertrand Russell against Socrates
13. Ralph Waldo Emerson against Jane Austen

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

A dose of country

It's another week of learning, inspiration and gratitude for blessings.

A dose of country. An aunt in Morganton, NC was game with my request for a close-up of the birdhouse in her summer garden.  The image colors my dreams of country living. Oh, one day when I retire....

Quick humor. It's one of those moments when you overlook little imperfections, but just smile and let things be. (Source: Report Card)

Quote: "You know what I like most about people? Pets." ~ Jarod Kintz, Who Moved My Choose?: An Amazing Way to Deal With Change by Deciding to Let Indecision Into Your Life

The link takes you to a review of the book on Good Reads by M.C. Humphreys.

Health tip. "Saturated fats are actually the healthiest oils to cook with," claims Barton Publishing. Here's why.

Chicken pancit. I was invigilating killer Cost Accounting, Strategic Management and Business Law all day. On an empty stomach. During break some undergrads were smoking like heck; others looked catatonic staring at their iPads. With the tummy rumbling I mused it's what happens when CPA-Lawyers listen to Survivor's Eye of the Tiger while writing the finals. Thank goodness a colleague's wife sent reinforcement at 3 PM. Starvation sorted!

~ x ~

Friday, July 5, 2013

Thrones, stairs and ambassadors

The few visitors in the throne hall of King Narai's palace were leaving when I got there. Pleased with the solitude, I lingered. The quiet seemed to usher in an opportunity to commune with the spirit of the ruins, however fleeting it was.

Like usual thrones this one is elevated.  Over at his palace King Narai had foreign dignitaries, those of France's King Louise XIV whose practice of wearing high heels was hypothetically due to his short height.  There must have been some influence or connection there.

This is the Dusit Sawan hall. The stairs are steep. Imagine King Narai going up the steps to sit on his throne. I reckon the act was not very comfortable, but then I'm no king and they must have adapted some fashion of climbing steep stairs in 1666.

This is a close-up of the memorial plaque by the throne. It portrays King Narai granting an audience with French ambassadors -

The ruins still exuded so much character. Ambling behind the throne was like playing hide n' seek with whatever friendly ghost was left in there. Numerous climbs must have taken place on this flight of stairs before the roof went off to reveal that sole flier in the vast space above.

Then I proceeded to the living quarters of the king's many wives....

~ x ~
Shared with Time Travel & Sepia Saturday

Antebellum reverie

It's a lovely week in the chili patches. Here's celebrating moments that made it so.

Dainty Dory a seafood bistro at Terminal 21. Inside it's like finding yourself in one of those sunny seaside Greek cafes featured on TV and films

Carnation cheer brightened up a dreary day in the office. Read: marking finals that never seem to end. A vase of red pink carnations is the only cheer in a sea of academic bits and pieces. I made it til sign out time by imagining tea served on the porch of an antebellum mansion.

Mother's Day gift. The day for Moms has been awhile but I've been busy. This week was my only chance to take a close look at a gift a friend gave me. 

Finding the perfect purchase during a routine book shopping. The friend who gave me the Body Shop Chocomania gift set (above) mentioned she and her diving buddies fancy the Great Barrier Reef next year. The Dive Sites of the Great Barrier Reef is a nice book that provides what my friend would most likely need to know about the place. I love it when it's my turn to give gifts.

Calamari wish granted: my little brunch at Dory

Thursday, July 4, 2013


This post is linked with: Booking Through, Thursday 13 

"Do you ever read books that could be considered patriotic? Rousing stories of heroes? History? Brave countrymen & women doing bold things? What would you recommend if somebody asked you for something patriotic–no matter what your country?"

The only patriotic books I read were those required in school.  Nowadays if I have to pick up one patriotic book that involves my country, the Philippines, it will be Why America Fights: Patriotism and War Propaganda from the Philippines to Iraq by Susan A. Brewer.  John H. Brown, Ph.D., has a good review of the book on American Diplomacy.

Thursday 13: quotes about time. Which ones do you like or relate to?

1. There's never enough time to do all the nothing you want. ~ Bill Waterson
2. Time is a game played beautifully by children. ~ Heraclitus, Fragments
3. If you judge people, you have no time to love them. ~ Mother Teresa
4. Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time. ~ Curtin, Phrynette Married

5. They say I'm old-fashioned, and live in the past, but sometimes I think progress progresses too fast! ~ Dr. Seuss

6. I'm on a government watch list. But I'm not interested, because government watches only twenty minutes out of every hour. ~ Jarod Kintz

7. "I wish it need not have happened in my time, " said Frodo.  "so do I," said Gandalf, "and so do all who live to see such times.  But that is not for them to decide.  All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us." ~ J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

8Time is the longest distance between two places. Tennessee Williams, The Glass Menagerie

9. There comes a time when the world gets quiet and the only thing left is your own heart.  So you'd better learn the sound of it.  Otherwise you'll never understand what it's saying. ~ Sarah Dessen, Just Listen

10. You may delay, but time will not. ~ Benjamin Franklin
11. Time is an illusion. ~ Albert Einstein
12. Time is what we want most, but what we use worst. ~ William Penn
13. Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana. ~ Anthony G. Oettinger

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Summer reading

This post is linked with: Booking Through, Thursday 13 

"It’s time for summer reading, so … today’s question? What’s the worst thing you ever did to your reading material? Sand in the bindings from the beach? Dropped into the pool? Covers smeared with sunscreen? 

And, if you’ve never done actual summer-time damage … have you EVER damaged your book/magazine/paper? Dropped it in the bathtub? Used it to kill a bug? Spilled with coffee?"

I left Dan Brown's Deception Point in my mother's living room long enough for a niece (who was also visiting) to be tempted to 'steal' it and make it her own summer read.

I normally take enough care of my books that none of them are ever damaged but there was a time when some of them were eaten up by termites.  The house help never informed me until the darn pests have burrowed into them.  I was brokenhearted. 

Thursday 13: things the world's smartest people are afraid of.  A hundred and fifty of them are listed on several internet sources. Worry was mentioned several times by, you guessed it - psychologists. What do you think of these fears?

1) Armageddon  ~ Timothy Taylor, archeologist
2) The demise of the scholar ~ David L. Everett, liguistic researcher
3) The post-human geography that will result when robots have taken all our jobs. ~ David Dalrymple, MIT researcher
4) That aliens pose a danger to human civilization. ~ Seth Shostak, SETI researcher
5) That genomics may fail us when it comes to mental disorders. ~ Terrence J. Sejnowski, computational neuroscientist
6) That we'll begin to treat technology like magic. ~ Neil Gershenfield, MIT physicist
7) The proliferation of Chinese eugenics. ~ Geoffrey Miller, evolutionary psychologist
8) The homogenization of the human experience. ~ Scott Atran, anthropologist
9) I worry that free imagination is overvalued, and I think this carries risks. ~ Carlo Rovelli, theoretical physicist
10) The end of hardship inoculation. ~ Adam Alter, psychologist
11) The pseudoscience will gain ground - Helena Cronin, author, philosopher
12) That we will continue to uphold taboos on bad words. ~ Benjamin Bergen, Associate Professor of Cognitive Science, UCS
13) I worry about the prospect of collective amnesia ~ Nogra Arikha, historian of ideas

Here are the rest of them:  150 things the world's smartest people are afraid of

Friday, June 21, 2013

Fave Five: week's highlights

Fave Five: week's highlights
A little note for new bloggity friends: It's been an old blogging practice of mine to keep a record of what's positive and good about the week. For several months I have been unable to do it due to a few bits and pieces both on and off line. But I am doing it again. It's quite a good exercise in gratitude and optimism. There's nothing like celebrating! So on to exactly what I'm talking about, these are some highlights, five of them, of my week:

Catching up with movies
Thank goodness for days off.  I managed four of them in two afternoons. Fast and Furious 6 emphasizes teamwork, Hangover III friendship; The Great Gatsby shows lengths humans are willing to go to to gain acceptance, Jurassic Park introduces DNA to pop culture.

Crichton's Timeline
It took me awhile but I got the reading done. I appreciate and love novels that are intelligently researched.
Overseas phone conversation with the kiddo
CJ: Are you finished working, Mommy?
Me: No, Baby. I'm just about to go to work. I work evenings.
CJ: Do you go to work on a skateboard?
Me: Skateboard what?!...

He kept on talking. Bla-bla this, bla-bla that. Then out of the blue...

"Excuse me, Mommy. I have to go poo-poo...."

The Grandma was giggling in the background. And the sound of shuffling feet faded away.

I can't believe CJ is now talking like this to me. The phone bill is well, I'll put it this way: this happiness does not come in cheap but it's worth it. It does look like that clinical impression (selective mutism) three years before is gone.

Remembering Papa
It has been eight years since father passed away but each year on Father's Day I have him in my thoughts as I go about delicious food. He was the first one that came to mind when I leafed through this back issue of a society magazine at Starbucks and saw Sean Penn like this. You see I once witnessed my father carry a half sack of rice. In his office clothes?! It made a lasting impression on me although it happened for less than a minute. Unprecedented wonder for a nine-year old. I thought only porters could and would do that sort of thing. The surprise factor was significant. Father just played Samson in front of me. And thirty-three years later, it's amazing to see he's got star company.

Sean Penn- certainly 'more than a face,' and my own father showed me what he was capable of beyond his office persona. The world's got supermen all over :)
Father's Day meal

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Lotus white, tea, braids and ice

This post is linked with: Booking Through, Thursday 13 

"And, the reverse–which actors have been particularly badly cast in roles of characters you first met in the pages of a book? Do you blame the actors or the writers and other film-people for the failure? Who would you have cast instead?"

Ewan McGregor as Carlo Ventresca in Angels and Demons. I thought he was too thin and small as a carmerlengo. They could have cast someone with more body volume and a deep bass voice, but it's just me.

Katharine Schlesinger as Catherine Morland in Northanger Abbey. Too pretty for her character as one who is into horror Gothic stories. Again, it's just me.

I don't care about blaming anyone for the failure. It's not worth the wrinkles. I just go get myself a cup of tea and find other books and movies to enjoy.

Thursday 13: Random quotes that mention white things in photos I took recently

1. The white lotus opens wide to those who know her secrets. ~ Fung and Iroh.
2. I failed to make the chess team because of my height. ~ Woody Allen
3. A picture is a poem without words. - Horace
4. There is not so variable a thing as a lady's headdress. ~ Joseph Addison

5. As lovely as the white orchid, I'll never own this bloom outright. Yet as I dream in my small chamber, faith blooms in ever spreading light. ~ Liilia Talts Morrison

6. Genius is more often found in a cracked pot than in a whole one. ~ E.B. White
7. Curiosity is the wick in the candle of learning. ~ William Arthur Ward 

8. From time to time I'm vilified as the person who cares about the look of a teapot. ~ Stephen Bayley

9. Real nutrition comes from soybeans, almonds, rice and other healthy vegetable sources, not from a cow's udder. ~ Ingrid Newkirk
10. Women eat ice cream. Men toast marshmallows. ~ Diana Hardy
11. Consumers are eating about six ounces of Pangasius per year. Hardly more than a mouthful ~ shared by a member of The Caravan Club

12. A girl without braids is like a city without bridges. ~ Roman Payne
13. I dread no more the first white in my hair, or even age itself the easy shoe. Time doing this to me may alter too my sorrow into something I can bear. ~ Edna St Vincent Millay

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

W is for...

For the first time since participating in the ABC meme, I go random for W. So without much ado here I go -

Wine Republic: a wine shop in Thonglor

windows of Mount Ievers Court, Co. Clara from the book Irish Houses and Castles

watery wayside at work

my whimsical notebook or at least that's how I call it. That's the buttercup fairy by Mary Cicely Barker. I scribble haiku on the leaves

winged beans: go well with minced beef

Monday, June 17, 2013

When students are busy

It's fun watching them

and what they're doing

these ones are wondering if their handiwork can withstand wind

and these ones are adding volume to their makeshift wall

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Phra Buddha Sothorn

Never in my life have I worn so much jewelry as I have during my wedding. Strangest sensation. There I was squatting on a wooden floor, hands clasped in prayer wondering what was going on while  nine monks chanted Pali in my clueless face for three straight hours. It was a Buddhist ceremony. The almighty (ex)Mom-in-law orchestrated the entire event. I did nothing but marry her son. 

While barefoot the rest of my body was bedecked with 24K gold jewelry. Well, except the silk skirt which was heavy with hundreds of rhinestones sewn around a foot high above the hem. I don't think I will ever go through such wedding garb again. But I'm keeping the rock (ring is studded with six dots of diamond) and this-

This pendant is a replica of Phra Buddha Sothorn or Luang Phor Sothorn which is the religious symbol of Chachoengsao, the city where the then husband and his family come from. In Christian countries Phra Buddha Sothorn is like a patron saint of a town or province. 

Here's a description of the Phra Buddha Sothon from ThaiGold

"Luang Phor Sothon is one of the most revered Buddha images in Thailand. The image is in the attitude of meditation, measuring 1.65 meters wide at the lap and 1.98 meters high. According to the legend, Phra Buddha Sothorn was the youngest of three brothers. They were created by Hindu priests. It was believed that the owners of these three images were three millionaires in the North. Over a hundred years ago, a miracle happened when the three brothers escaped the blazing ancient capital of Ayutthaya by walking down to the Ping River, heading southward, where they were swept away. 

The eldest one floated down to the Gulf of Thailand and along the coast to Samut Songkram and has stayed there since. The second one floated along Samrong Canal to Bangphli in Samutprakarn.  After a group of people there paid respect and used sai sin, a long white thread, to pull him ashore, he remained there since then. The youngest, Phra Buddha Sothorn, was swept down thru Bang Prakong River to Chachoengsao. He has been there since then. 

Two annual fairs celebrating the image fall on the 5th and 12th lunar months (around April and November). It is believed that once Phra Buddha Sothorn halted the deadly epidemic in Chachoengsao province after vows of appeasement were made to him. Thais believe that whatever good wishes people make to Phra Buddha Sothorn, he will grant and make their wish come true."

~ Head on over to Sepia Headquarters for more stories. ~

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Dream Cast

This post is linked with: Booking Through, Thursday 13 

"And while we’re thinking about books converted to tv/movies. Do you ever sit and wonder who could be cast as your favorite characters? (Please feel free to give examples!)
What actors do you think have done particularly excellent jobs with some of your favorite characters?"
Cleopatra VII of Dan Brown's latest thriller; if they're converting Inferno to film soon- I wonder how would a younger version of Maggie Smith do. A complicated fancy but it's free to wish.

Richard Harris (HP1 & 2) and Michael Gambon (HP3-6) were perfect for their role as Hogwarts headmaster Albus Dumbledore.

They couldn't have chosen a better actor than Leonardio di Caprio as Jay Gatsby in the recent The Great Gatsby.

Jacob Black of the Twilight series was played quite well by Taylor Lautner. I don't mind that he is not as tall as his book character. Taylor is the best shape shifter ever and he played Jacob very well I was in love with him for months.

Thursday 13: Random bookish photos in my files

1. the latest Dan Brown thriller

2. I piled these last Christmas to make a tree out of them

3. got to watch the film first; went straight to the bookstore for the reading experience

4. at my fave second-hand bookshop: deciding which ones to check out

5. writing a research-reflective note on a page of a Jane Austen book

6. I heard my mother mutter quietly while watching me bid goodbye to these books I bought after a week-long vacation at home, "Anastasia and her latest loot.'

7. Advertising Management books, Business Management Faculty office (my playground)

8. this boardroom at work teems with e-books
9. Kinokuniya search machine; looks like the one that replaced the note cards

10. a book filled with color drawing of fairies by Mary Cicely Barker

11. some of those books I bought from Logos Hope

12. normal state of the bed

13. playing with free photo background online


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