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So I forgot to post something... When Jabriel arrived in PDX Jovon, Melissa, and I were waiting for him at the airport.

Jovon had a sign saying "Jabriel"
I had a sign saying "Buttery J"
and Melissa had a sign saying "Dude From CraigsList"

Hehehehe!
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So I think most of you know what a wimp I was about rollercoasters. For example, the weenie one at Wild Waves freaked me out and Jeff had to drag me on to it. I was like a 15 year-old girl. I was, in fact, like an emo kid.

Well, I've been blathering about how now I have a lack of fear and how weird that is and I thought I'd give it a test. Turns out in certain select circumstances I still get afraid. One of those circumstances is a ride/seat malfunction while hanging facing straight down (and stopped) on the Deja Vu at Magic Mountain.

We initially went on the Viper, which was easy peasy but it kinda made me feel sick because of all the slow loops and spins (my stomach isn't used to coasters apparently). We also hit the Colossus (which was ok, but ricketty and too much jolting and not enough drops) and the Goliath (which was OUTSTANDING). I decided to skip the Scream because it was all spin and I already felt like I was going to hurl. But they were fun rides and I had a great time. Hell, the photo they took on Goliath was awesome, I had no idea my mouth could open that wide and that my veins could bulge quite like that. 260ft drop and 85mph will do that to you. Hehehe, it was great. Gina looked like the Cheshire Cat, Scott looked like he was giving birth, and Jabriel looked like a cerebral palsy victim. Hehehe, I should have bought that photo. I must have unhinged my jaw to scream louder or something. ;) Not buying that picture will be my big regret of the trip.

But lets get to the interesting part, the Deja Vu.

We're in the line and Jabriel and I are all "Enh, that doesn't look that fast." And then we got right next to the loading area, saw it race by us, and stared at eachother slackjawed. So here's how it works... You get strapped in facing forward, then they crank you backwards up this tower so you're facing straight down and then they drop you. You go racing past the loading zone, go through a boomerang and a loop, and then go up another tower... then you go through it all again backwards. It's pretty awesome.

The safety harness is as follows... A black pulldown harness over your chest with seatbelt-like thing that attaches it to your seat as a backup, and a regular 1950's style airplane seatbelt that has the metal flap you lift up that also is a backup. So I put it all on and the 1950's belt unhinges. I think I mumbled "Oh, that's not cool" and reattached it again. Well, I must have overtightened it and sat too close to the edge of the seat because the fucker caught on the seat again... while I was hanging straight down getting ready for the drop... it opened, dropped, and swung seductively in front of me. That was only a backup, I'll be ok, thought I. But if that is broken, what else will break on my seat... I'm on a broken seat! And Six Flags kills tons of people... AND MAGIC MOUNTAIN IS GETTING SHUT DOWN!!! And as I was sitting there, waiting for the drop, and watching my seatbelt dangle in front of me in a manner which suggested it was saying "fuck you" to me I... um... got scared. Perhaps that doesn't properly describe the experience but my speech pattern probably will.

"...... *click* *swish* ..... .... ..... Oh fuck, I'm going to die. Oh fuck, I'm going to die. OH FUCK, I'M GOING TO DIE! HOLY FUCKING *the coaster drops* SHIIIIIITTTTTTTTAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!" (Incidently, Jabriel said that listening to me freak out was the best part of the ride... heh.)

Actually, there aren't the proper characters in the english language to describe that scream. It was high pitched, it went on for the entire length of the forward part (the backwards part felt safer for some reason), and it didn't stop. I didn't have to breathe. I just kept going and then slowly faded into a low croaky moan gasping for air. You know that sound that a cat makes when it's wrapped around the drive-train of a 57 Chevy? I made that exact same noise. Yeah, I know, I'm the most masculine guy you know. ;)

So then we go backwards and I'm ok and the rational brain kicks in and says "enh, fuck the backup seat-belt. Everything else is ok. ... Heh, but you were SCARED earlier."

So yes, Virginia, there still is a fear lingering in there. But at least it's a rational one. If I wasn't scared on that ride, I don't think I'd be human.

Incidently, Deja Vu was the best ride of the day (especially with the funky seatbelt thing... WOOO ADRENALIN!) and it also had the shortest line! In retrospect, we should have skipped Viper and just done the Vu about 4 times.

So yeah, the trip has been a ton of fun so far. :D
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IMG_4495

This was while I was riding a stoned and angry (see also, hungry) elephant along a very narrow trail while trying to motivate it by encouraging it to move in about 7 different languages.

It eventually got annoyed with me after I'd cycled through Karen, Thai, French, German, Japanese, Russian, English, and English Vernacular. It decided to uproot a tree with its trunk and threaten me with it, and also lean over the edge to try to tip me, Jovon, and one of the germans off. I don't know if you can see it in the photo, but the cliff on the right is STEEP! It would have been unpleasant to fall down that. We all screamed and held on. I also laughed. I did that a lot in Thailand, snicker after nearly dying.

We behaved after that and let it satisfy it's munchies.

Anyway, this photo was taken soon after that event. Note the "Oh god, I think it might try to kill us again... HILARIOUS!" look in my eye.

Also, looking at this photo it isn't hard to see why the Germans thought I was Mexican, is it? Of course, I'm not a Mexican. It's possible that I could be a a MexiCANT, though. ;)
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Our tale opens with our arrival at a village of the Karen Hilltribe in Northern Thailand in the region between Mae Hong Son and Chiang Mai. Photo )

We arrived with our guides (Bon and Chai) and several other backpackers (from the US and Germany). Evening was quickly approaching but we had enough time, however, to explore the beautiful village and learn a little bit about the culture. In many villages (such as this one) the huts are all raised up on stilts to help mitigate the damage of flooding due to the heavy rains that saturate northern Thailand. Photo )

This particular village was Animist, but there were other Karen villages that were Christian or Buddhist. Once we were made aware of this fact, it became hard to comprehend how we didn't know it instinctively. For example, over the doorways and around their homes were bird wings and various other items or apendages that held significance. While walking through the dirt paths that lead between the huts we noticed that there were pigs under many of the huts. Photo )

Some of the pigs were actually really fucking huge. So after a little while Patrick said to Bon "Hey Bon, what's with all the pigs tied up under the huts?" Bon explained that it signified that there was an eligible woman living in there. You raise the pig and then, on the wedding day, slaughter the pig and offer the majority of the pig to the spirits and eat a little bit of it. This is the only time they eat pork.

Suddenly the grey haired pigs started to make a little more sense. There was one UGLY woman in there. Heh. So it was with this same sardonic sense of humor that I decided to chime in and ask a question.

"So Bon, what do you pick? The pig or the woman? Do you just walk around the village and then go 'WHOAH! That's a niiiiiice pig!' and propose?" I said with a laugh. Bon, on the other hand, didn't laugh. Heh, oops.

I never got an answer (which leads me to suspect you pick the pig, hehe), and soon it was time to go get some tea with the Political Leader. Each village has two leaders, the Village Leader (like an Elder) and a Political Leader. The Village Leader deals with all things that happen internally, they're the leaders in the traditional sense. The Poltical Leader, on the other hand, functions as a liason between the Karen village and the Thai government. He is educated in Thai schools, can speak Thai, and is generally young (in his 20's.) So we spent the evening in his hut discussing the lives of the Karen. At one point tea was produced, that is to say "Hot water likely brewed with spiders" was produced. It was in a cast iron kettle on an open fire in the the hut, and looked like it had boiling there since the dawn of time. The Political Leader's wife grabbed the damn thing barehanded, said "Hot hot!" and then poured us all some tea. This tea was possibly the most hot stuff that has ever hit my tongue. Bon noticed the looks of shock on our faces and he said something that stuck with me.

"Karen hands.... very strong."

During all of this it came up that, like Patrick, the Political Leader's wife was a teacher. The way schools work in the Karen is that each village has a school. This village had the preschool, some other village had the primary school. Now these villages are NOT close together, and getting from one to the next involves marching through the jungle. It made me feel like a total pussy for complaining about a 40 minute bus ride to get to middle school.

Anyway, we all were eager to meet the kids and see a class, so we decided to get up ass early in the morning and meet the kids. We were invited to help with the class, something Patrick dove into with gusto. He taught them english for a little while and then we decided to teach them some songs and games. A brief discussion broke out as to whether to use english or german songs. English won. And then the real battle began.

Patrick and his girl wanted to sing "Row Row Row Your Boat." I had other plans, however... I wanted to teach them some Crunk.

That's right, I wanted to teach them "Aww Skeet Skeet" by Lil Jon. Think about it, a ton of little Karen kids singing "TILL THE SWEAT DRIPS OFF MY BALLS!" It isn't like anyone there knows what that means anyways. Hell, most Americans don't even know what Skeet is.

I was, unfortunately, overruled.

But listen to "Row Row Row Your Boat" without the connotation and imagery, because they were singing it by sound rather than by words, and you'll realize that it sounds like a goddamn funeral dirge. So that was a flop. So we started playing Duck Duck Goose. And here is where we nearly got in trouble, but before I start I should mention something...

Prior to the trip, I looked at a site that detailed the various popular ways of dying in Thailand. I did this for two reasons. The first was to scare the hell out of my Mother, which should be an Olympic sport. The second was because I had an eerie feeling that I wasn't going to come back from the trip. The number one way for farang (foriegners) to die, as you might have imagined from my Motorbike story, was death by Motorbike/Car. The second, without explanation, was "burning."

"Burning? Wtf does that mean? Is that sunstroke, severe sunburns, or angry people with bonfires?" said I, with a laugh. On retrospect, I think I hit the nail on the head with the latter.

So there we are, thousands of miles from home and hundreds of miles from civilization with NO IDEA where we are. And we decide to play games with these kids under the watchful eyes of their parents and the Political Leader's wife. Innocent, right? I mean, they're just games! Nothing bad could happen, right? WRONG!

So we play a few rounds and teach them the rules. The kids love it. Then we wisely stepped back and let the kids and Patrick play. Indoors. In the huts with low ceilings, because the Karen people (like all Thai people) are rather short, especially compared to Goliath-like Americans. You can see where this is going, can't you? Patrick, a very tall American, was "it."

This cute little kid, who's pants were constantly falling off, was chasing him while holding his pants up by the seat with a free hand. It was adorable and Patrick, a soft touch, slowed down to let himself get caught.

It should also be noted that this wouldn't have happened with me or my family. I was raised on the theory that if you are going to win, you'd better earn it. So I would have ran like... hmmm, what would make me run fast?.... I would have run like an angry hilltribe was chasing me. But Patrick is more suited to being a teacher than I, so he let himself get caught and then did something that many father's would do with tiny little kids to congratulate them. He cheered and lifted him up in the air.

*THUNK*

It was at this point that I realized that despite cultural differences, there are certain things that are universal. One of those things is the reaction to seeing a child get his head bashed in by a gargantuan American. Myself and the Germans all covered our faces, turned away from it, and went "OOOOH!" We also, in unison, started to edge towards the door. Why? Because we noticed that the adults in the room were looking less than happy with us. There was, what can only be described as, a growing menace that threatened to blow.

Thankfully, Patrick knew exactly what he was doing (perhaps because he has bashed in other kids heads... who knows?). He smiled at the kid and laughed. The kid, who was on the verge of tears, got confused and started to smile and laugh too. This caused the parents and the political leader's wife to crack up. We joined in, nervously, images of bonfires still dancing in our heads.

Minutes later Patrick rejoined us and we left in a hurry, walking so fast we were almost running. Patrick laughed and said to us "Jeez, I thought I just killed us. I was prepared to make a break for it." To which we replied "Karen heads... very strong."

****A couple villages, an angry and stoned elephant, and a ton of jungle... I'll tell you about those another time.*******

Words cannot express the vile stench that had absorbed into us. Especially me. Why me, you ask? Well, I fell into a rice field. I actually have a photo of me taken seconds before my fateful fall. If you look about 5 feet ahead of me you can see a muddy slope where the levy was breaking down. Photo )

I don't know what they fertilize with, but it was so bad that I had to throw away my shoes and my Che shirt. The stink would just NOT go away. Combine that with angry elephant sweat, tired welshman sweat, and the bizarre sweet/nasty smell of the jungle and you'll begin to discover what I smelled like. The only shower I was getting was the occasional rain shower.

... I should mention another side note. I was the group's weather spirit. It would PISS IT DOWN anytime I didn't have my poncho out. If I put my poncho on the sun would come out immediately and thus turning the poncho into a portable sauna in a matter of seconds, only heightening my stink. After a little while, I got bitter and refused to put my poncho on. This lead, of course, to accusations that I was a lazy weather spirit and should take a hit for the team. *laugh*

So it was with this stank that I approached the next village. It had been raining most of the day, on and off, apparently due to my refusal to wear the stupid poncho. We left the dense jungle and started walking along a red clay road. This might have made the journey easier if things were dry, or even if it just fully monsoooned. The occasional rain, however, had turned the clay into red glue. For reasons that escape me, my fake Berkinstocks (the shoes were destroyed by the rice field, remember?) attracted this clay like a magnet. Before long I was walking on clay platforms. Oddly, it gave me MORE traction rather than less, which was handy for walking down this muddy, slippery, and illegal grade road. Of course, that didn't last forever. Halfway down this long steep road the mud gave way and I fell.

"OH SHIT, MY CAMERA!" I thought, and started to roll and shift in an effort to stay off my backpack. Have you seen Predator? You know that scene were he slides through the jungle and gets all muddy in the process? Yeah, it was sort of like that, except I didn't fall off a cliff at the end. I just came to a thudding stop and remained still for a minute.

Why was I laying there, you ask? Well, I hit the ground so hard that I couldn't be sure that I wasn't in shock and so I wasn't sure if I broke anything. So I was slowly moving all my joints checking to see if everything was moving the right way. Next I checked my camera. Everything was ok. There was a new change to my situation, however. In addition to smelling like a Yeti, I now looked vaguely like an Aborigini on a holy day. Mud all in my hair making it stand up, mud all over my body, mud everywhere.

It was at this point that I noticed that I had slid right to the front of the damn village. I had backpackers snickering at my fall and appearance, and hilltribesmen looking at me like I was an alien. Think about it, though. Some dude is laying down in the mud, looking like he should be hunting Predator with a homemade bow, slowly moving joints with a worried look on his face. Wouldn't you be weirded out? Photo )

Bon immediately directed me to the stream (which was muddy from all the rain) so that I could clean up a little. I went straight there and tried to clean up as best I could without showing any skin (because that's considered very rude). The Germans, who were a continual source of amusement, stripped off, grabbed some Chang Beer, and jumped into the stream without hesitation (much to the dismay to the Karen kids who were watching). I had a good laugh and took a photo. Photo )

Thankfully, they didn't hold it against us too much... However many of the villagers kept their distance from us and weren't as friendly. Not surprising, though, since their introduction to us was a crazed aborigini and a bunch of guys jumping in their stream and looking like they're in a gay German beer commercial. They did, however, sell us some of their EVIL EVIL MOONSHINE! Holy mother of god, I've never had anything so potent and nasty in all my life. So we did what any self respecting backpackers would do with stuff like that. We played German drinking games until we were all smashed. Photo )

Walking through the jungle the next day, with sore livers, was a bit rough. Heh.
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A normal person, upon discovering their car is stolen, reacts with anger or depression. I am not a normal person.

"Holy crap, did my car get stolen? Hahaha, I can't believe someone stole my fucking car! Hehehehe! Dude, take a picture of where it used to be!"

And thus, the following photo was born.

car
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Some of you knew that I've been working on a manifesto of sorts since I was in Thailand that would crystallize my political and moral stances into a single cogent message. As time has progressed I've become less willing to willing to put it all to paper, and I've found that the primary reason for that is that I don't want to preach. While I have very strong beliefs regarding the subject of my contemplation in Thailand, I also strongly feel that nothing is accomplished by preaching. As such, I've torn down my writing inch by inch until there was nothing left but the original idea. There is no grand essay on changing the world, I'm not igniting the page with revolutionary fervor, instead I've just returned to the concept at it's simplest form. I will share the idea with you, as it is something that is so close to me it feels as if it is written on my soul... so to know this is to know me. If you have questions, I will answer them but I will not write a massive essay on the subject and push it on people. There is no wisdom in that.

We, as lawyers (and lawyers to be), have a responsibility to the people of this nation and to the people of all nations to guide society based on ideals. No one wields as much power to change as a lawyer, we determine the fates of individuals and the masses with each case we try. But the majority of our number make decisions on cases and arguments based on monetary values rather than considering the social impact of our actions. We must wean ourselves from the teet of materialism and make our decisions based on something higher than a paycheck.

Our code of ethics carries with it an unspoken subtext that appears to have been missed by many people. We are expected to be more than human. In some respects we are modern day knights (champions for our clients) and in other ways we are priests (offering counsel, guidance, and some degree of sanctuary). We must embrace the truth of the profession we have joined (the truth that this is more than a job, it is a calling) and take responsibility for the power we hold.

We should be saviors. We should be heroes. But heroism only comes with fighting for a belief, and if you don't fight for a cause you believe in you're simply a mercenary. Acknowledging that, it isn't surprising that we're a hated profession. If we were to use discretion and wield our power wisely, however, we'd be elevated.

I don't care what you believe. I don't care where your politics or morals lie. Just exercise them when you wear the mantle of Officer of the Court, regardless of what is most profitable. Our voices, our conflicting voices, could lead society to Utopia if we could just withstand the urge to sell ourselves to the highest bidder.
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This story opens up on Koh Phangan at Ao Thong Nai Paan.

We had arrived the day before during a monsoon. Due to the Full Moon Party, the only accomodations available were these little out-house shacks at Ao Thong Nai Paan. So we got a Song Thaew (a pickup truck that is used like a taxi) to take us out there. You sit in the bed of the truck on benches that go flush against the side of the truck. So a slight turn and, if you aren't holding on, you're airborne. Getting there involved going across the island's narrow and steep red clay roads. These roads had turned into rivers of mud due to the downpour. They were also single lane, with quite a lot of traffic coming the other direction. And given there were cliffs and whatnot, this involved some pretty creative driving and dodging to get us there.

The Song Thaew driver, being a nice guy, grabbed a tarp for us to hold over our heads (we were with two sisters we met on Koh Tao). So the 4 of us had to decide whether to hold the tarp over us (and protect our possessions from being soaked through) or to hold on to the benches to keep from being thrown backwards out of the Song Thaew by the sharp turns and bumps. We elected to use the tarp and if anyone looked like they were starting to lean out, you'd reach over and grab them. We went speeding through the single lane mud "roads" that had pot holes and trenches that you could drown a horse in, laughing like maniacs. At one point we hit a particularly nasty bump and I turned to Jovon and, with a sardonic grin, said "I told you I wasn't going to survive this trip..."

But I did survive it, and we arrived unscathed at Ao Thong Nai Pan. The "Sandee bungalows" were something to behold. They were wooden shacks with corrugated steel roofs. Well, that doesn't accurately describe it. The slats of the wood had 1-2 inch gaps between them, allowing free passage to all but the largest of spiders. Inside was a full sized mattress with a 1 foot clearance on all sides. I suspect they built the shacks around the mattress.

We were given a mosquito net, which was kind of them, but they had massive holes in them. We're talking holes that allowed Jovon and I to stick our heads out of them. They were only effective to repel giant mosquitos that belonged in King Kong. What was worse was that Jovon and I had to share the damn bed. Why, you ask? Well the girls we were travelling with were pissy about our accomodations and we were left bunking together on this tiny bed.

Now let me tell you about how I lost my fear of spiders. As many of you know, I was deathly afraid of spiders for most of my life. I wasn't even able to be in the same room as them. Now they can crawl on me and it doesn't really bother me. What caused this momentous change? The bathroom at Sandee Bungalows.

I needed the bathroom something fierce, took my key and headed into the out-house. Yes, it had an out-house. I unlock the padlock and open the door. There is a single dirty 50 watt bulb that casts the scene in a moldy yellow hue. What I saw was surreal.

The bathroom consisted of a dirt floor, a hole dug into that dirt floor, and a hose (for showering, washing, flushing, and acting as a rudimentary bidet... it was an all purpose hose). That's it. Now that would have been no big deal if it wasn't for the additional "feature" of this out-house. The army of spiders guarding the bathroom. These things are as big as your fist and have a real menacing aire about them. There was on very large one, in particular, that was hanging out over the hole.

He looked at me as if to say "What are you gonna do about it, asshole? Now bring me a newspaper, I'm going to be here a while."

This was just NOT going to do. I needed to go, and no fuzzy fanged arachnid was going to stop me. So I swallowed my fear, and bared my pale blue (I'm welsh, we're not white) ass to his drippy fangs and did what I needed to do. The spider, wisely, decided that he really didn't need to stick around for this. *poof* No fear of spiders. However, this wasn't something I really wanted to repeat again. I'm pretty sure this spider spend his days hunting small dogs, after all, and I just didn't want to tangle with him again.

The next morning we decided to find new accomodations, and found a decent place. It was more expensive than the $0.25 a night we were spending at Sandee, but it was worth it. The downside was that we needed more money and there was no ATM in Ao Thong Nai Pan.

We realized we would have to go back to Thong Sala (since that is the closest ATM... about 15km). We could pay 100 baht a person to get there and, if we're lucky, find a Song Thaew to take us back for 100 baht. OR! We could rent a motorbike for 250 baht for 24 hours. I say 'motorbike' advisedly because I suspect a lawn mower had more horsepower. It didn't go "ROAAAAAR!" It went "Eeeeeeeee!" Despite that, we opted for option two, being that the roads, while trecherous, were largely empty and also we thought it would be cheaper.

Oh how wrong we were.

It is important to point out that at no point during this story did we wear helmets... they didn't have any to give us.

I was wearing my Che shirt, and little did I know how appropriate it would be. On our little 'La Poderosa III' we took off, nearly crashing several times before leaving the village. It was a scene right out of The Motorcycle Diaries, I'm telling you. Once out of the watchful eyes of the villagers we hit a patch of graven and wiped out. Jovon turned to me and said "Damnit, you leaned the wrong way!" I broke out into hysterical laughter, given the ridiculousness of the statement. I was leaning the same way as he was, after all. So I just laughed. This was to be the theme of the trip. Me laughing and dusting myself off.

I hopped back on (Jo was driving, I was supposed to drive back) and said to Jo "All throughout my childhood I had nightmares of being dumped off the back of motorcycles, do NOT be the guy to make my childhood nightmares come true." Jo shrugged the comment off and set off for Thong Sala.

We were too heavy to effectively use the breaks, so we were forced to stop the bike Fred Flintstone style. Fair play to Jovon, despite the INSANE roads, trenches, cliffs, and various other dangers he got us to Thong Sala without another incident. Feeling brave, we turned and headed to Hat Rin.

To get to Hat Rin you have to go up a really steep road. We were on pavement, rather than mud, however so Jovon was feeling brave. However, we were losing speed on the crazy steep hill and were in second. So what does Jovon do? He shifts to first and guns it, because he was under the impression that our bike didn't have the power to pop a wheelie, despite the illegal grade of the hills.

Jo was wrong.

Jo dumped me off.

We were driving up and one minute I was serenely looking at the ocean (we were near the top of the hill and had a great view) and the next I found myself airborne trying to work out how this sudden change of events occurred.

My reaction, as I flew through the air and tried to arrange it so I would land on my feet was to again burst out into laughter. I'm even laughing as I write this.

Why was I laughing? Because I had cliffs to either side of me and I thought "That son of a bitch made my childhood nightmare come true... I can't believe Jovon killed me." The absurdity of it all just had me cracking up. I had quite a lot of time in the air because of the grade of the road and the force in which he kicked me off the back.

I had enough time to see Jo trying to maintain control of this damn bike as it is doing a wheelie. He crossed in front of traffic, crossed back to our side and nearly fell of a cliff, and then crossed traffic again and went into a ditch.

It was about this time I landed on the ground. I landed on my feet, no joke. I completely lost it. I was literally doubled over laughing. It was one of those laughs that is so intense that it looks like you're crying.

Meanwhile a couple aussies pass us (the guy driving had a leg bandage and the guy riding behind had his arm in a sling) and one says "no worries, mate, that happened to us earlier today."

This was too much for me. All the air left my lungs, my knees went weak, my eyes watered, and I laughed so hard my face and stomach hurt. A super hard, yet silent (because I was laughing so hard I couldn't breathe), laugh.

Jo didn't think it was as funny as I did, which is odd because I was the one who was thrown off the bike much like a cowboy off the back of a bull at a rodeo. He did, however, confess that he believed I gave us a "gypsy curse" by telling him about my nightmare. Yes, you heard it here first. The accident was my fault, despite the fact I was a passenger. *laugh*

I discovered that, much like Jesus, Jovon is perfect in all ways. Let me explain this... You might think that he screwed up. You might think that shifting to first and gunning it on a steep hill was his fault. But you would be wrong, Jovon is perfect. It was, in fact, YOUR fault, not his. *laugh*

So we get to the top of the hill and see Hat Rin below us. The pavement on our side of the road ends, however. It's still paved on the other side, but not ours, and for reasons that are beyond me there are big fucking rocks every 6 feet between the two lanes. No worries, we think, we'll just cruise down to the bottom.

Well, there was something to worry about. WAAAAAY down at the bottom was a barricade on our side of the road. Jo shouts "WE NEED TO STOP!" So I put me feet down, as does he. But we're hauling ass at this point and we're on gravel, so it isn't doing shit.

Jo realizes that we're going to have to get on the otherside of the road, but is preoccupied with the fear of catching my feet (or the bike) on one of the rocks, so he forgets a key thing about riding: When hitting bumps you want to do it at a sharp angle, not a shallow one.

We hit the ledge at a shallow angle and dumped the bike going probably around 35mph without helmets. I ended up landing on top of Jovon and we were face to face, my hands underneath him. Immediately, I thought he had hit his head and died. I did the only thing I could think of, which was to use my hands on the pavement (which was still speeding underneath us) to try to lift his upper body off the pavement. Consequently I scarred the shit out of my hands. This description doesn't give you a true picture of what this was like, though.

Essentially, I was surfing Jovon down the street, craddling his upper body with one hand, planting the other hand firmly on the pavement like a skater (sans gloves). It must have been quite a sight. Hehehe.

I rolled off him and Jovon sat up, I was relieved he was alive. And then I saw my hands. I had opera gloves of blood. Jo looked PISSED at me for something (like jesus, remember?) until he saw my hands. "I think I need some stitches, dude." And with that phrase, all anger evaporated.

The bike was broken, however. We couldn't get the fucker started. So Jovon announces that we need to do a push start. So we have Jovon, a football cornerback, and we have me, a scrawny nerd with bloody hands. Who does the pushing? That's right, me. Two big bloody hand prints on the back of that stupid bike, and then I had to run to catch up. Hehehe.

So off in search of a clinic we go.

However, there was a traffic jam. No surprise, it was Full Moon. Ahead of us was a big black pickup truck that threw on its reverse lights. "That's not going to back over us, is it?" "Nah, he sees us."

And then he started coming back at us.

"NOOOOOO!" we screamed, and waved our hands at him, but the bastard ran us over nonetheless. *BANG* I rolled out from under the bike, stood up, and was clearly on the verge of going into shock. So what does the driver do?

He jumps out of his truck, shouted at us in Thai, gets back in his truck, and drives off. No shit.

Licking our new wounds from the Thai hit-and-run, we got the bike started again, and finally made it to the clinic (noting a lot of other people with big bandages down at Hat Rin) and the medic at the clinic just laughed and told us we had Thai Tattoos now. I still have some tendon damage from the whole thing.

All in all our "cheap" option gave us several scars, over 2000 baht of repair bills, 250 baht of rental fees, 100 baht of gas, and 350 baht of hospital fees.

So there you go, that is my experience with motorbikes and Koh Phangan. 4 accidents and due to injuries I drove the fucking thing for about 5 minutes before I realized that I couldn't grip the handles well enough and gave up.
penda: (Pimpin')
So I'm driving home today and get to Tacoma when *FOOM* steam is everywhere. "Oh for fuck's sake," says I, "I knew I shouldn't have attempted to drive north in this car again..." And then I promptly pull over. I limp to a Chevron that has a repair bay in it, but it's 6pm on a Sunday so the damn thing is closed. The woman inside wont go into the auto shop and sell me a piece of tube, nor will she sell me electrical tape or duct tape. Instead she loudly tries to convince me to tow my car home (using high pressure sales techniques). I refused.

So I buy some packing tape for $2.50 from the convience store and try to wrap that around the blown tubing (which isn't going to work since the damn thing gets very hot, very wet, and very pressurized but that is all I can come up with). So there I am wrapping this damn thing up when I hear from behind a voice that sounded like a cross between Little John (Yeaaayah) and Rick James (Bitch, get ovah heah and have sex with charlie murphy) say to me...

"'EY! LEMME ASK YOU SOMETHIN!"
"What?" says I, as he and his friend get out of their minivan (Cervesa in hand) clearly drunk.
"Let me show you something!" he says as he reaches into his jacket. This guy is super sketchy and my eyes likely came out of my sockets as I'm thinking to myself that getting stabbed or shot over my POS car was not how I intended to end the day. So he gets really close to me and whips out a veterans card.
"Cool, man," I say. Relieved.
"Can you help us out man. Like give us a few bucks?"
"I would but I'm flat broke and my damn car is broke."
"What's wrong with it? We could probably fix it if you give us some money." Still sounding like Rick James.
"Coolant pipe exploded on me... again."
"We can fix that, man. My friend's a mechanic and I... I know everything."
"That's cool, man, but I'm broke," I say, amused.
"How about five bucks?"
"I'd give you five bucks, but I just used it to buy this stupid tape. All I've got is $2.50."
"Give us that, then."
"What the hell, here you go."
"Cool, man, my friend will help you out. Wanna smoke some bud while we wait?"
"*laugh* Nah, man, I got finals and need to keep my head on straight."
"I know how that is, man. I have some coming up too." Upon hearing this I can barely keep from snickering since this dude is about 45-50 and very obviously a transient.

So his friend comes over, looks at the car, and says to me "Man, I like that dude but he talks way too much... let me look in the van for some tubing." I go to help him. As I'm helping I notice that the manifold around the steering column has been removed and the van has been hotwired. Awesome, I think to myself, I'm getting help from drunken military vets turned car thieves. Best. Day. Ever. I'm clearly enjoying myself.

So we can't find a damn tube and about this time the woman who wants me to get a tow truck starts shouting at us. We're not allowed to stay there, she insists, and is going to call the cops if we don't move. I tell her that I can't move because I'm broken down and if she sold me the tubing I would have been gone a long time ago. She goes back inside, bitchily. We go back to work.

So finally the drunken mechanic shrugs, pops the hood, and CUTS HIS FUEL LINE! "This should work," he says. Fuel spurts until the pressure releases. "Careful, this might explode," he says to me. I am grinning from ear to ear by this point.

So we take the fuel line, cut off about 6 inches, and put it back on his car. Then we take the 6 inches and put it on mine. Then there is a moment of tension where we both start our cars (while Rick James/Little John is smoking out behind the Chevron) and we hope that neither of them explode since they're both fairly nicely drenched in fuel.

BUT THEY BOTH START!

"Wait a minute," he says "we need to make sure it works so we need to heat it up." So we get it running for a while and then to test to see if it is warm he doesn't look at the temp gauge. No. He opens the radiator, sees that it's bubbling, and promptly sticks his finger in it. "Yep. That's pretty fucking hot." He says. "HARDCORE!" says I.

And there were no leaks. So with a handshake I was on my way.

Now if I was a typical yuppie I would have never talked to those guys and probably would never have made it home. I got a car repair, an awesome afternoon, and a funny story all for not ignoring them and giving them the change in my pocket. There is a lesson to be learned there.

My day was awesome.
penda: (Default)
Hey [livejournal.com profile] theda,

Remember that time that I was taking piss at [livejournal.com profile] apestyle's place and his Mom walked in? She pointed at my wang and started screaming "DRAGON! DRAGON!" in Korean. She did it so much, in fact, that I was about to point out to her that it is impolite to give pet names to your son's friend's cock. However, she interrupted me and told me that she'd be honored if she could give me head. Far be it from me to turn down a blowjob from a toothless woman, so I accepted. However, just as she was about to, as we say in the hood, "get freaky" [livejournal.com profile] silentclarity walked in, saw the scene, and started to strip off his clothes to get a piece of the action. However, as you know doubt know, [livejournal.com profile] silentclarity is one hairy motherfucker and when [livejournal.com profile] apestyle's mom saw him naked she screamed "GOAT!" Man, it was like she was creating her own Chinese Zodiac right there in the bathroom. Anyway, I guess she was somewhat threatened by the Goat because she grabbed the nail file that was laying on the counter, charged [livejournal.com profile] silentclarity and stabbed him in the lip.

And that's the story of how [livejournal.com profile] silentclarity got that bitchin' scar on his lip.
penda: (Retarded)
[livejournal.com profile] inevitability's Course in Law for Relationships

I have never done any of the following and I do not recommend the following acts to be used in your relationships, but I find it damn funny and thought I would share my theories just in case any of you feel the need to turn your relationships into a legal mess of dysfunctionality.

Res Judicata
This is Claim Preclusion. Ok, so you get into an argument with your lover (we'll use a girl just for the sake of ease, not because of any sexist bent) and she nails you for spending all day on the couch watching Mork and Mindy. She chews you out for not taking her to see her parents. You apologize, she wins the dispute. The next day she starts to chew you out for not taking out the garbage yesterday. At that point you can claim res judicata because this second offense (the garbage) stems from the same Transaction or Occurence as the original dispute (Mork and Mindy and the parents). If she wanted to bring that claim, she was required to bring it at the same time as the parent argument but because she didn't, she's barred and has no claim any longer.

Collateral Estoppel
This is Issue Preclusion. So you got into a fight last week about vacuuming. You managed to win. This week she's mad at you again and in the middle of the fight she brings up the vacuuming again. This, my friends, is barred because the issue has already been litigated. She's barred by Collateral Estoppel. You cannot relitigate the same issue twice.

Precedent
So you know for a fact that your lover got into an argument with parents over her responsibility in paying bills and lost it. The end result was she was deemed irresponsible. You and she later get into an argument over the payment of bills and she insists she's responsible. You can turn to her and say "I'd love to believe you, baby, but I'm bound by the decision of the higher courts."

Class Actions
The worst possible thing has happened. Your ex's have gotten together with your current lover and are comparing notes. They all decide they have a grievance with you over the same issue. "Oh shit" you think to yourself. However, you have a delay tactic available to you. You can insist they file for a 23(b)(2) Class action, since they are likely seeking equitable relief rather than monetary relief. This means that everyone, even parties not present, are bound by the decision. This also means that the proceedings will be drawn out to the point where they will likely lose interest.

Pleadings
Ok, so you are in the middle of an argument and suddenly you get blindsided with something that wasn't even part of the original fight. You can claim that this is barred by Rule 8(a) because if the claim isn't in the original claim you need to apply for the right to amend... and given that there is no judge it is unlikely she'll get the right to amend.

Also, when a complaint is brought to you by your lover you don't have to respond immediately. According to rule 8(c) you have 20 days to file your answer.

Sanctions
The dreaded Rule 11. She brought a complaint to you and it turned out to be total bullshit. No reliable facts. No reasonable claim. Just a total time waster involving lots of crying and you arguing until 4am. At this point you file for a Rule 11 Sanction. Usually these are legal (monetary) remedies. However, given the nature of relationships I'm persuaded that you could file for equitable (performance) remedies such as sexual favors, beer, or both.

Statute of Limitations
In most areas the statute of limitations for civil matters is 3 years or less. Anything that is beyond that point is out of bounds for any sort of argument or conflict.

Stare Decisis
The decision stands. So you've given her the boot. You just couldn't stand how she refused to put the cap on the tooth paste for one day more (or more likely you used these tactics and she gave you the boot). She's gone. A week later you get it into your head that you really miss sex. Jenna is nice and all, but it isn't the same as a real woman. So you think "I could probably get her back." WRONG! You're barred by Stare Decisis. There has been a decision made on this matter already and so you're bound by that decision.

Good luck!
penda: (Default)
A post in response to [livejournal.com profile] devilwinds's anti-modern poetry rant.

Imagine you have never played an instrument in your life. Suddenly, you get a Sax. You think to yourself "Hey! I've got a sax here, now I'm a musician." Yet, you are so green you don't even know how to put a reed on the instrument. So you watch other saxophonists and figure out that if you put the reed on after wetting it first in your mouth, then blow into the mouthpiece and press some keys, sounds will come out of the bell. Pretty damn neat for someone who's never played. However, I ask you this question...

Does this make that person a modern saxophonist? Does it even make this person a musician? I would say no. This person has the potential, like we all do, to learn how to play with training. But with very few exceptions, no one can pick up an instrument and just play it. Not even something rudimentary like Three Blind Mice. Most likely what you will get a bunch of squeaking and a lot of displeased listeners.

Now most of what Jeff has seen on LJ and Slate is the poetic equivalent of that unfortunate saxophonist. They have discovered a term "Free verse". They have also discovered that they can hold a pen in their hands and write words. But writing words in free verse is no more poetry than the untrained squeaking of that green saxophonist.

Jeff is condemning modern poetry and saying that most of it sucks because of what he has read from these people who are not really poets. When I brought to him the examples of real poets he expressed the opinion that they are the minority. I disagree entirely. However, to an untrained and uneducated (in poetry) reader these squeaking and painful collection of words might appear to be poetry. However, they are not. This is why many readers think that the 18th century had better poems, but what they don't realize is that they are reading the cream of the crop and that most of the poetry of that era was just as bad as the stuff we see on LJ. If I were to ask one of these people to explain to me what a masculine ending was, what a spondee was, what an anapest is, they wouldn't be able to tell me. That is because they are untrained. Just like the new saxophonist wouldn't be able to circular breathe and then play in the altissimo register.

So what does make someone a poet and not a poser?

There are several things that come into this. These rules are identical in all art. After a while you discover that there is very little difference between all art, regardless of whether it is visual, written, performed, or played.

The first is training. There is no way to get around this. You need to be trained in your art. This can be self training, but you need to know the rules of what you are doing. You should be able to follow those rules by heart if needs be. You need to understand WHY they are there and what they do to enhance the art. Later you can break those rules if you understand them well but it takes a lot of skill and talent to break them. You need to understand a rule and have a reason before you break it.

Second, is a big one. Talent. There needs to be something in you that manifests in this form of art. 50% of all can be taught. The other 50% cannot. Talent is a big part of that. Either you bond with the art or you don't. Either you can see, or you can't. It's not fair, but what is?

Third is the biggest one out there. TENSION. All art is formed on tension. All of it. If you take a picture you are trying to create tension between the objects in frame. If you are writing a play, you are looking to create tension between characters. If you are writing a song, you use syncopation to create tension in the music. This is no different for poetry. Every poem should have an innate tension that grabs the reader and holds her until you are finished. If you have done your job correctly you can affect your audience's pulse, emotions, body temperature, etc. This tension is incredibly powerful. It marks the difference between someone telling you that it was "very nice" and someone throwing you down a fucking you because you made them lose control.

Fourth, you need to read what other TALENTED writers are writing. You need to live in your art. 90% of your training is going to come from immitation. Most of these posers read only their own stuff or they only read what their friends are writing. The end result is a flood of crap that makes my skin crawl.

Fifth, you need to have something to say. In written and visual art this is usually easy. In instrumental pieces, if they are performed well, you do not need lyrics to know what the song is about. In poetry this becomes complicated. Poetry is much more like an orchestra than it is a book. You should NEVER say what you are feeling. Ever. If you say "I am utterly alone" you have already failed. Your goal is to make the reader feel what you are feeling, not to tell the reader what you are feeling. To do this you use the same weapons that a musician uses. You play with tone to effect a mood. You play with word choices to evoke emotions without outright saying them. You work with the pace of the piece and the rhythm of a poem to try to bring the reader's body reactions to the same level that yours are. For instance, in a poem about fury you would write using a lot of masculine endings, a lot of spondees, and probably move in an iambic rhythm. The result is that you have a machine gun feel with double accents to emphasize your hatred.

So basically, just because you are writing in free verse it doesn't make you a poet. You need to know what you are doing.

End Result: Jeffy = PWNed.
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