You are viewing 3rd_i

Mostly Harmless [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]

[ userinfo | livejournal userinfo ]
[ archive | journal archive ]

(no subject) [Sep. 19th, 2008|02:25 pm]
I'm sitting around at Tokyo/Narita, nursing a hangover and what feels like a broken nose. I'll be in DC tonight, and back to Tampa late on the 23rd. Does anyone even still live there anymore?
link12 comments|post comment

We interrupt your regularly scheduled silence... [Jul. 7th, 2008|08:32 am]
[Current Location |hanoi]
[music |Presidents of the United States of America - Back Porch]

Don't mean to post whore, but my first entry never showed up on my friends page for whatever reason. Temporary summer travel blog now with content/pics. (Family viewing, keep any comments civilized)
linkpost comment

Enter The Minsk [Jun. 29th, 2008|03:07 am]
[Current Location |condo]
[music |Girl Talk]

I'm out of my place on the 30th of the month, with fingers crossed that the yuppie Thai owner won't notice the plaster/enamel job I did on the couple holes I'd gouged into the wall while the place was under my stewardship.

After kicking around a few ideas, I settled on doing Vietnam and Laos this summer. My flight for Hanoi leaves on the 1st of July. I'm planning to finally consummate my long flirtation with motorcycles and buy one of these for the trip, since it appeals to both my budget and impractical sense of romanticism. There are still a few variables I'm not sure of yet, so I wouldn't say the motorcycle thing is 100% firm, but that's my idea now. I've set up a temporary Wordpress blog for the trip as a way of keeping family and other people alerted to my continued state of non-death, so that's where most updates will go. A Motorcycle Diary. It'll be more picture and story oriented rather than lame introspective crap, which is generally the domain of my LJ. (If the motorcycle thing doesn't pan out I'll eat my hat and come up with another title.) Try to keep any comments clean, as we don't need people finding out about the string of halflings and broken hearts I've left all over Asia, or my smack habit.

I haven't bought the ticket yet, but I'm looking to be getting back to Tampa somewhere between September 9 through 11th. I'll be working on campus and doing thesis researching for at least the fall, plans for spring are as of yet unclear.

Finally, I leave you with today's impulse purchase (I realized a little too late that I won't be able to find any good opponents; I'm nowhere near good enough to take on a native speaker, and all but a handful of non-Thai speakers are functionally illiterate):

That's right: Thai Scrabble.

([Thai] consonants are written horizontally from left to right, with vowels arranged above, below, to the left or to the right of the corresponding consonant. - Wikipedia)

It's gonna be like that 3D chess from Star Trek, but with words.
linkpost comment

Pork and Beans [May. 26th, 2008|09:31 am]
link1 comment|post comment

(no subject) [Apr. 17th, 2008|09:35 am]
[Current Location |condo]
[music |The Doves - M62 Song]

At 6:50am this morning, United Airlines flight 838 departed Bangkok for Narita. I wasn't on it like I was supposed to be. Thanks, dick-ish airline restrictions and inflexible scholarship policy. I couldn't get a refund or change the date past May 2, so I figured I'd just trash it. If I had taken it, I'd be out a $600 deposit on my apartment (and the 1-way tickets I was looking at in June were $750), plus the chance to show my little sis around for a few weeks later in May, and knock around the country/region on my own for a few weeks. Think I'm probably coming back sometime in latish June, to work on my thesis and hopefully find a summer job. I wonder if FCIT will have me back?

Still no word from the Embassy yet. Jerks.
linkpost comment

*~posts~* [Mar. 31st, 2008|11:19 pm]
[Current Location |condo]
[music |yume bitsu]

I've been on a rather self-indulgent negative kick, which is why I haven't made any public entries in a while. I think my grievances with life right now are fairly legitimate, but as is the case with most Negative Nancies, lacking a certain sense of proportion. Suffice to say, I'm getting over it.

Been waiting to hear back from the Department of State and USINDO about what country/countries I'll be living in from June onwards. I'm not expecting word from the latter until mid-April, but hoping The Man has something for me in the next couple days or so since I've applied under a hiring exemption. (It's just an internship for the Fall, nothing permanent.) There's quote a bit hinging on which way this stuff goes, although the "worst case scenario" is more a matter of hitherto unconsidered alternatives than calamitous ruin. It's nice to have that kind of security, I have to say. *hugs Boren Scholarship* On the other hand, it seems the people I meet will never stop not understanding "I'm not sure yet" when they ask what I'm going to be doing two months from now. Even though that's completely true, I'm not particularly worried about it. I have a lot of faith that things will work out in the medium-to-long run.

This has been a really interesting year so far, in terms of growing up. I wish I'd taken better notes.
link2 comments|post comment

(no subject) [Feb. 21st, 2008|05:07 am]
what are you gonna do with all that junk?
all that junk inside that trunk?
link1 comment|post comment

Midway [Nov. 22nd, 2007|06:42 pm]
[Current Location |condo]
[music |debussy - reverie]

Yesterday marked the halfway point of my course (Wednesday of week 3 of Intermediate 2). I realize it's been a few months since I wrote a public entry. I still write private stuff fairly regularly, not that I have any secrets worth keeping but that it's mostly just note-taking on banal daily happenings, idle half-formed plans for the future, and the like. And a lot of bitching about my course.

Nothing particularly noteworthy has happened in the interim. Gone out and taken some pictures, gone out and drank, stayed in and done homework, read, or whatever. I took 8 sheets of negatives from the last 2.5 years to a lab across the street from my school to get scanned about two months ago. They lost all 8. Visas were fouled up, fines were paid, and permission to wear the school uniform was given. That last one has been great, I'm now exempt from the laws of fashion 5 days a week. I get a few double-takes going to and from school, you don't often see a white boy in a university uniform here.

I like my school; the campus is a little more interesting than USF, and there are lots of opportunities to make friends. I joined the photography club this month. But I don't really like going to school that much. My classmates are all Japanese now. From what a lot of you know of me I can speak Japanese and I'm interested in Japan/Japanese people. Neither of those are really true anymore. Oh, I suppose I'll always have a soft spot for Glorious Nippon, but I realize most of the Japanese friends I've had are rather weird by Japanese standards. Actual normal Japanese people are painfully boring. I keep to myself and usually find somewhere quiet to read/study during the breaks, when the room turns into Boisterous Japanese Conversation Time. It's not that I dislike them, there's just nothing to talk about.

So am I fluent in Thai? Fluent is a pretty hazy term, but I can still answer the question anyways: no, I am not. Intermediate shifted the emphasis to reading (and soon, writing), with a 5-10 minute speech every week constituting the entire speaking portion of the class. Written Thai and spoken Thai are almost two completely different languages, so what I learn in class has very little relation to what would be helpful for day-to-day things. I try to make up the balance by hanging out with Thai people and speaking Thai, but in between class, homework, and the fact I don't live anywhere near my Thai friends (but quite close to two awesome German friends) I don't get that much of an opportunity. It's frustrating because I've met plenty of people I'd like to get to know more, but just seldom get a chance. When I do it's nice though, I can usually follow my friends' conversation and contribute a bit on my own. For their part, Thai people are really friendly and encouraging of foreigners trying to speak their language (in marked contrast to Beijingers), and I'm better at it than most Westerners who have lived here for years, since most of them just have a bilingual (or close enough) girlfriend/wife to translate for them. Still, I doubt I'll be satisfied with my speaking ability by June, so I'm looking for job opportunities to give me a year or so of using Thai in a workplace. I have three years to start a job for The Man, and I could likely even get a deferment if I was working on my language skills. Since the application processes for a lot of the jobs (I'm supposed to be applying for things related to "national security") are quite long, I'm probably better off staying in Bangkok and working on my Thai than going back to Tampa and doing... nothing.

I'm planning a 3-4 month trip around Southeast Asia at the end of my course before I start any kind of work, as sort of a reward for putting up with the ridiculous workload for this year. I'll be honest, the prospect of going from student life to a real job isn't particularly appetizing to me; the last four and a half years have been great to me, and "2 weeks paid vacation annually" sounds like a prison sentence, despite the dramatic increase in income. I'm planning to put an emphasis on Thailand and Laos since those are where I have the language advantage, but Cambodia is worth another look and I'd like to go see what Vietnam is all about it. Anyways, let me know if any of you want to come hang out. It's not as expensive or dangerous as you might think, and I know my way around fairly well.

link7 comments|post comment

sabai sabai [Aug. 7th, 2007|07:42 am]
[Current Location |condo]
[music |cherry ghost - dead man's suit]

Last class I got a 74 on the final exam. I vowed to do better but really didn't start actually doing something about it until maybe 2 weeks ago. I've been putting in a minimum of 1.5 hours after school each day on homework and studying (3 hours a day on weekends), instead of blowing it off like I used to. My goal for this exam was an 80%. I just got the results by e-mail for this exam (which was by all rights more difficult): 90.02%! It's really rewarding to put a lot of work into something and have it pay off so soon. I've never had to work this hard at anything in school before, and I think it's changing me for the better.

Christmas came early, in the form of an airmailed package from back home (wince at $90 postage). I got:

-A Lomo LC-A I bought on eBay a year ago that was DOA, now back from repairs.
-A pair of Elan II's that I saw on Tampa Craigslist and had Will pick up for me. The latch on the back of one was brittle and snapped off the first time I opened it, but it should be an easy fix. Haven't run any film through yet to test them, but not bad for $20 each. Came with extra batteries and some crappy Kodak 200 print film.
-20 rolls of slightly stale Velvia 120 for the Seagull.
-A Palm Treo 650 which was purported to be unlocked, but is not recognizing my SIM card. Hopefully a phone shop will be able to make things right.
-6 paperbacks
-A few toothbrushes, because my mom knows I tend to use a toothbrush until it's only got about 25% of original bristle count.

I'm off to catch the overnight train to Chiang Mai now. I might meet one or two classmates out there, dunno. This time I'm going to not spend the whole time mired in the aftereffects of drink, and actually see stuff.
linkpost comment

My Greatest Shame [Jul. 21st, 2007|05:22 am]
[Current Location |condo]
[mood |disappointeddisappointed]
[music |Brian Eno]

I didn't shave for a few days and decided to run with it for the rest of the week. The end result was patchy and unsatisfying, as usual.

You win again, puberty.
link1 comment|post comment

[ viewing | most recent entries ]
[ go | earlier ]