Tuesday, June 19, 2018

The Rifleman's Creed

I am not a gun enthusiast, but I can shoot. 

I don't particularly care about the Second Amendment as it pertains to modern weaponry...I think about it more in the context of when it was written...that era, that technology, that need spoken of by the founding fathers. I don't care to really comment or get into any arguments on that subject.

Like I said though, I can shoot. I was an expert rifleman in the Marines...although never fired a round in anger, at or towards the enemy with the intent to kill or harm. 

I trained for it. I was prepared for it in my mind. I was skilled in using my weapon as an instrument of war, but I never had to deal with whatever feelings a rifleman feels after seeing his target slump to the ground...injured, maimed or killed by his doing...

In the service, we learned the rifleman's creed. It is below. That is all.

This is my rifle. There are many like it, but this one is mine.

My rifle is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it as I must master my life.

Without me, my rifle is useless. Without my rifle, I am useless. I must fire my rifle true. I must shoot straighter than my enemy who is trying to kill me. I must shoot him before he shoots me. I will…

My rifle and I know that what counts in war is not the rounds we fire, the noise of our burst, nor the smoke we make. We know that it is the hits that count. We will hit…

My rifle is human, even as I, because it is my life. Thus, I will learn it as a brother. I will learn its weaknesses, its strength, its parts, its accessories, its sights and its barrel. I will keep my rifle clean and ready, even as I am clean and ready. We will become part of each other. We will…

Before God, I swear this creed. My rifle and I are the defenders of my country. We are the masters of our enemy. We are the saviors of my life.
So be it, until victory is America's and there is no enemy, but peace!

Friday, June 15, 2018

Friday Foto - June 15, 2018

Friday Foto? Why not?

How often, back home, do you see a bowl full of boiled chicken feet? It is pretty common here in Thailand.

We get them in bowls of noodles  (Guay jab din gai) and in a sour, savory soup called "Super". They come fried as a snack and steamed at "Chinese" restaurants. You will often see them at a roadside stand still attached to the leg and thigh, grilled or BBQd.

I don't eat them, but the whole family eats them. The cool thing is, even though I can't eat chicken feet, is that similar to the human foot anatomy, the foot has SO MANY BONES in it, so you see people eating chicken feel constantly spitting out tiny bones into their napkin or onto their plate.

Enjoy the Chicken feet!!

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Whine/Wine 20180614

Whining (bitching) is something that we were told, in the Marines, was essential for our happiness ;)

"If you ain't bitchin', you ain't happy!"

Wine is something we appreciate and enjoy on occasion :)

Homophones...Blog...Just for fun...Bringing positive to the negative...

Whine and wine...sometimes one comes directly after the other.

Not to bring a bunch of negative to Pae and Guy...but we all need to get it out sometimes!!

Today's Whine -

Yesterday the heads and management at my school had a meeting scheduled for morning...The meeting was with the new Regional Director of our school group. We arranged our schedules to make room for a two hour meeting.

The night before, the Academic Director messages me to tell me that the meeting was moved to the afternoon. We rearrange our schedules to accommodate for the new meeting time. Go to lunch. Come back to do final preparations for the meeting (I had to give the presentation to the RD and management group about operations, student numbers, competitors, turnover, etc.) hoping to just chill and take a deep breath before meeting the new RD and answering his questions concerning my campus.

A half hour before scheduled meeting (10 minutes after returning from lunch), we are called to meeting room to start early. Basically, instead of 40 minutes, I had 10 minutes final prep, with 5 new slides (technical in nature and slightly complex) added to my presentation by somebody at the Head Office, emailed to me during lunch...

Whine, whine, whine, whine, whine, whine. That is all...

Today's Wine Quote -

Give me books, French wine, fruit, fine weather and a little music played out of doors by somebody I do not know. - John Keats

Wine, wine, wine, wine, wine, wine. Better now...

My toes hate me sometimes

This is a post for all of the weirdos out there. It's what happens when my toes get all messed up when I run ;) Not necessarily a play-by-play, but an important story to share with readers of Pae-and-Guy about a part of life that has become more "normal" over the years. Hoping you "enjoy" it.

Not much to talk about here, other than gag reflex or loss of appetite.

This round of toe nail loss came after the most recent 10 hr ultra marathon in May. After the race, which I ran most of with wet shoes and socks, I knew from my black and blue toes, that I was going to lose up to 5 total toenails.

After UTKC a few years back, The big toenails came off right after the event as I had spent a few difficult kilometers climbing mountains and running down them, kicking stumps and rocks, roots and even just kicking the ground for no reason! Shredded my toes.
That was a horrible experience as the nail bed really didn't have a chance to start growing a new toenail. The toes were gross for a long time. Took probably a year or so for the toenails to grow back to what would be considered "normal."

This time around, I was able to wait for a few weeks to rip of the first set from the left foot.
Pae bought me some alcohol and Betadine with gauze bandages for my toenail removal. Kenneth, from school, had shown my FB pix to his nurse girlfriend...they sent me a bottle of squirty juicy water stuff to clean my toe before, during and after removal of the nail.

The big toenail had to wait a few more weeks after that in order for it to be as safe, health-wise, as possible. It was a bloody mess inside until I stabbed it with a needle (from the top, not through the nail) and let it drain. Eventually, the blood left inside dried up and looked pretty cool.

Even as I ran in the rain, the nail would still have dried blood inside because the small hole I made to drain the blood early on had closed.

I knew it was time to rip the biggie off when, after a rainy run, I looked at it and it was no longer bloody. This meant that the nail had finally separated from the skin holding it to the toe and water was able to get under it to wash out the dried, crusted blood.

After that, it was necessary to get the nail off as soon as possible so that I could keep everything nice and clean and avoid infections and such from nasty water during rain...stuff coming up from the sewers and such :(

Another REALLY IMPORTANT reason to get the nail off after the top separates from the skin is so that I am not woken from my sleep with a sudden jolt of pain (more shock than pain) in the middle of the night as I adjust my blankets or sheets with my feet...I've had a loose toenail get caught in the covers more than once and flip backwards or come halfway off a little sooner than I'd have liked. Those snags are unhappy moments.

One time I was taking a shower and forgot about my toes. I used my heel to get an initial cleaning of the tops of my toes...Oops! Heel caught a toenail and pulled it straight back...ripping the side skin on both sides. You tend to swear all of your best swear words in moments like that!!

In bed though, it's just a sudden surprise that wakes you and whoever (Pae and Bubble) you are sharing the bed with, hahaha!! And blood...sometimes there's blood if the skin rips with the nail ripping halfway out. Anyway, I had good reason to get this thing off once it became totally separated on the top. This time around, I put a Bandaid around the nail for a half day just to make sure I avoided such surprises, hence the Bandaid sticky goo marks on the biggie in the pictures.

Sitting, watching Netflix with Pae, I played around with the biggie toe...knowing it had to come off soon. Pae and Guy had earlier joked about getting the toenail removal on video to upload to Youtube...again...for all of the weirdos to watch late at night, hahaha! I decided against that, figuring these pictures would tell the same story ;)

It was much easier and less painful this time to pull the biggie nail off since I let it prepare itself. I think the root actually mostly died or was on its way out because this time, there wasn't a big chunk of fibrous meat hanging off of both corners of the removed nail ;)
The point of no return

I may have had a couple people block me on Facebook after posting these same photos...kinda gross, but it is pretty common for me and I know other runners experience similar over years of running...especially the longer distance runners and trail runners. For me, it was the long distance as well as the wet socks from the race. **I've gone to socks with zero cotton in them as recommended by a buddy. Expensive, but they work...I only lost 4 nails!! That = "they work" :)

The nail bed had already replaced all nails prior to them coming off...but that new nail material is always really thin. I have run in the rain several times since the nails coming off...and now the new nails are almost shriveling up, perhaps cuz they are hardening due to being exposed, finally, to the elements. The smaller nails should figure themselves out and eventually grow (longways) out to be normal in a month or two. The biggie will take upwards of a year to be normal again! Just in time for next year's 10 hr ultra marathon, hahaha!!

**Is it weird to admit that I feel like it would be cool to collect my old toenails?

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Found some school pictures in a folder

I was looking in one of my old folders on my school computer and found a bunch of photos that I have taken or have had taken over the years at school.

So, just so I have them in the future, I'll leave them here with some captions ;)
Same age(ish), all taught here at this school for over 11 years. Malcolm (Scottish dude in the middle) left to get his masters and is now teaching in Brazil. Kenneth (Danish dude on the right) is still here doing his thing!
My little group of First graders from back in 2007. These kids were awesome and, being my very first class, will always hold a special place in my heart. The names have faded with time, but the faces last forever...Back row; Praewa, Ying, Jucha, Nuni, T.Guy, Peach, Bean, Nuey, Mint. Front row; O.C. Pandin, Toto, Pom. If I remember correctly, Pom had a crush on Nuni, but she despised him, but liked the attention enough to always stare at him. O.C. followed me the next semester to my current campus. Peach had a sister named Apple. Bean was quite competetive with Mint, but Mint could care less. Jucha thought he was Tom Cruise, Toto was going to be an astronaut, all the girls thought Nuey was going to grow up to be so beautiful and used to just hold her hair and brush it in small groups including Praewa, Mint, Peach and Bean. Pandin was more of an International School level kid and climbed around like a monkey all of the time...some smart kids in that group.
This is Wai Kru Day (Teacher Appreciation Day) from way back in 2007, my first year teaching here at the school. Back then, my first 6 months, I was an English teacher for First Grade and had conversation classes from First to 6th Grades. This particular kid was quite the girl...quiet but watchful...calculating and spiteful if you crossed her. But when Teacher Guy asked her to do something, after gaining her trust over the first term, she always listened. Nuni is her name. She should be in her first year of university already or just starting this year.
In late 2007, a position at our school's Bangkok campus, closer to home, came open and I literally LEAPED for it :) I happily gave up teaching English and conversation in the swamps of Rangsit and started teaching Science in Bangkok. Same school, same bosses, different campus, different subject. I had a great time teaching Science for nearly 10 years before becoming the International Principal; my current position.

Never miss a chance to ruin a picture...or so they say!!

Sports Day tug-o-war Yellow/Pink team beat Blue/Orange team!!

Taking pictures with out Christmas outfits.
Every year we have an annual show where the students perform for their parents. This was my 4th or 5th year, so my 4th or 5th annual show. The theme of this particular show was "ASEAN" or the Association of South East Asian Nations. Our school big bosses are in this picture; owner, daughter, son and Academic Director.

I'm pretty sure this was at an annual show, back stage, waiting to get our longevity awards. Reina for 5 years, Mary for a fiver, Guy for 5 years (received a year late), Malcolm for 10 years, Kenneth for 5 years (also received late). Only Kenneth and I remain at the school.

I run into these two rats (Cotton and Carrott) often around the neighborhood. They left our school eventually to go to a Christian school. They come to annual shows and show up during midterms or finals every couple years to say hello. I taught them private classes at their home for about a year, every Tuesday. Their dad, a twin, is a runner, so we had that to talk about often. I met the dad's twin earlier this term, dropping off his daughter in our Kindergarten...I was shocked at first, wondering why Cotton and Carrott's dad was in our Kindergarten, but then remembered he had a twin brother. The brother and I laughed at each other even before greeting...because he saw my double take and he kinda knew who I was, even though I never met him in person.

One of my best classes...not at the time, but eventually this class ticked all the boxes for a teacher; hard working, curious, responsible, respectful, adaptable...the weird thing about this class is that it was all girls and only two boys.They were 5th graders at this point...probably 2011? They are now all either entering University or in their first two years of University as some accelerated their H.S. studies abroad and are already in college.

Mickey...always a handful as you can probably figure from his "anus cupcake" poem he wrote during one of our chapters on the digestive system. Mickey, Mickey, Mickey....At least he got a kick out of it...This kid never stopped laughing.

Often, having fun with kids in after school classes resulted in laughs and squishy faces!
One of my best classes, 3 boys only, but Prem, the one next to me, left and then there were two! This is their scouts uniform...Not really the boy scouts and girl scouts we know back home, but something similar...it is an actual class at school that all students in our school are required to attend.

Yup...can't help myself...This is why they stopped inviting me to  class photos I think.

No comment, other than this was before the Kindergarten moved to our building, so this was the Primary Department...not many of us!

There was a web cam on my laptop and the kids would come to talk to me just so they could try to turn it on while I wasn't looking...to try to get me to make a funny face...not difficult for me!

One of my first sports days, Team Yellow. Only the three yellow team members on the far right are still with the school. T.Kwan has been here as long as me, Me, then far right T.Nok, who is now the school principal.

My smallest homeroom class every, my first year at this campus, 2007, T.Kwan was my Thai homeroom. And O.C. is there! And I am wearing a really cool striped shirt, hahahaha.

We are often called on, last minute, to perform or participate in ceremonies...probably Buddhist ceremonies...Gotta quickly learn how to bow and place the egg thing on the altar.

A recent Intra campus competition where our campus kicked some butt!! This is two of our volleyball girls and two swimmers

Always love chillin' with the kids, messing with them, exposing them not just to "Book English" but also to sarcasm, colloquial English, situational English, smoking and joking English, funny sounds and faces (of course)...
 A few or all of these pictures may exist on the blog already, but I'm not going to go through and check ;) I just want these to see the light of day again!

I have enjoyed being a teacher, even though I have never been qualified to legally teach in any place that requires teacher certification or qualification. over a decade of spending good and bad times in classrooms with kids and preparing lessons at home...dealing with parents and other teachers...qualifications or not...Teacher Guy is a teacher ;)

I'll have to go through my Facebook posts and grab a bunch of pictures of RATS who come visit at school after they go on to High School...and make a post of those!

Pae and Guy

Monday, June 11, 2018

Full Moon Run with Bangkok Runners

I've been a member of Bangkok Runners for six years now...basically since I started running. Over that time, we have used both Facebook and the Meetup website to plan, schedule and RSVP to group runs. I've probably only been able to make less than 50 meetups over six years, but I still feel like a part of the group ;)

One run that they have organized a lot lately (once a month for obvious reasons) is called the Full Moon Run. It is scheduled for evening time, usually 10-20 kilometers and most I have seen are at a crook in the river (Chao Phaya River) called Bang Krachao, nicknamed the Green Lung of Bangkok. It is nicknamed such as in a concrete jungle, it tends to be very untouched as far as development by industry, tourism, housing, etc.
Green Lung of Bangkok

I have been to one of these, and this is the post for that run :)

Nothing much, only a meetup where we were all to meet at a certain place at a certain time. I got on the sky train towards the meetup point and realized that I was going to be late. I messaged the organizer (Gonzague) and let him know not to wait for me.

Gonzague mentioned that they would be running to a park along the route and that if I showed up there, I had a chance of catching them. I checked out my google map while crossing the river on a ferry and decided to run counter clockwise a couple kilometers to the park. I hoped to run into them there. The "island" is a popular place to go cycling, recreational rather than serious. Here is a decent video showing some bikers going across the river to Bang Krachao...for a relaxing ride. Now you can see why it is called Green Lung ;) It is a tiny escape from the grey running in the city...but still in the city!

I ran much faster than I would have liked and suffered those first 20 minutes. I got to the park and asked the guard if a group of "whiteys" (farang) had gotten there yet. He said, "No." to which I smiled and asked him to point out the toilet for me to use ;)

I spent quite a while dealing with the rumbling in my stomach and, while sitting there, decided that I would just do another 4 or 5 km then run back to the ferry to go home. I washed my hands (and put my shoes back on as you have to wear slippers into the toilet) and drank some water. No sooner than I start to go back to the entrance did I see a long line of maybe 10 runners entering the park...from the back side. Almost missed them! They stopped for a pee/poo and we greeted and took off, together!! Yay!!

We talked and ran and got lost and ran. It turned dark. We his a small trail portion of the run (most was roads or side walks) and Gonzague warned everyone to watch out for snails. I was like...ummmm, I ain't afraid of no snails!

Then, running in the dark...CRUNCH!! Splat!!! WTF!!!

I had stepped on a snail the size of a nectarine, absolutely HUGE and pretty gross to think that I just smashed one at quarter speed in the dark.

We got to the end of the snail trail and waited for the rest of the group to catch up as it was very dark. Turns out one Japanese girl had slipped on a snail and smashed her arm up pretty good. We stopped at a mini-mart and bought Betadine and bandages for her to dress her wound. The entire time all I could think about is a show that Pae and Guy like to watch called "Monsters Inside Me!" Lately we have seen many episodes or stories about snails or leeches and the nasties that they carry with them!!

The rest of the run went off without a hitch, other than my phone battery dying so I was unable to record the entire loop. Got back to the other side of the river, took some selfies of the group and the Full Moon that finally decided to pop out from behind the haze and clouds, and split up and headed home!!

It was fun. I should go to more meetups. Like-minded people doing the things they like, together as a group. Helps with stress. Helps me to feel more social in a land where I don't have that many friends.

I'll make sure to send more photos of the next Meetups I attend with Bangkok Runners...my running club, word!

World Environment Day 2018 at BYSL

On June 5th (and 8th) our students had an activity for World Environment Day, a day set aside by the United Nations to raise awareness of the things that are negatively affecting our environment and to shine a spotlight on people, organizations and even countries that are taking steps to reverse or at least minimize the effect our bad/destructive habits have on our beautiful planet.

I'm by no means a tree hugger, but I do recognize that the Earth has changed, and continues to change, for the worse even in only the amount of time that I've been alive.

At school, we obviously have units in our science, health and social studies classes about environmental protection, conservation, pollution, recycling, etc. A day like World Environment Day helps us to highlight some of these things for the students.

As lots of the schools, when I first got to Thailand, were doing a lot of "Project Based" learning, I am now very used to having to do projects with the students. In fact, the projects are built into the curriculum, assessment, etc., so, even if we didn't want to do them, we would still have to.

Not only are the projects a part of the students' academic requirement, they are also something that is nice to show in portfolios, Open Houses, Annual Shows, etc.

To be honest though, in the "early years", much is done by the teacher (concept, drawing, cutting, assembly, etc.) with minimal input from the kids (coloring, writing their name on the project), but we're talking about 2-4 year olds ;)

As they get older (I have pretty much all pre-teens at our school), fifth and sixth grade, they are able (expected) to conceptualize their own projects or at least give feedback to the teachers as to what types of things they would like to do as a project.

There is still a big gap (with Thai students) from what was expected of me in middle school in America 35 years ago, but I think they eventually learn to have more autonomy and responsibility as they approach college...and maybe they are shocked into it during the first year of college ;)

Here are some pictures from our World Environment Day 2018. This year's theme for W.E.D. is "Beat Plastic Pollution." If there is one area where Thailand can improve drastically, it's in it's over-use of plastics in every day life.

If you go out to the soi to buy dinner, you're coming home with 8 plastic bags, several plastic straws, multiple rubber bands, even disposable plastic utensils.

This morning for breakfast I had two pieces of grilled pork on a stick and sticky rice. The grilled pork was placed in a plastic bag, the sticky rice had its own plastic bag and then both were shoved in another plastic bag to carry conveniently. So, for a simple breakfast, already three plastic bags.

Then you go to 7-11 to purchase drinks or snacks...7-11 has to be one of the biggest plastic polluters in the world...not to blame them really, but still. I did notice though that all 14 bazillion plastic 7-11 bags that I see stuck in the drain pipes and blowing around on the streets, have "Save the Planet. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle" or something to that effect printed on them!!

Is making a robot out of old cardboard boxes really something that is going to save the world? Is making a cute green character out of twenty or thirty green department store plastic bags something everybody can do to keep plastic out of the oceans? No and No...but that's not really the idea for our projects. It's more an awareness thing. Get kids talking about it, thinking about it...then doing something fun that they will remember (early years I'm talking about here) and perhaps take home that they can talk about with their parents and continue to be aware that there is a problem that needs to be solved.

We're trying to get them to think about these issues on a daily basis rather than just on World Environment Day...one day a year. It's like "Every day is Valentine's Day!"...Every day should World Environment Day...or at least, My Environment Day...saving the planet one kid at a time, one household at a time...Those kids and those households are consumers and consumers drive supply...If the demand for the conveniences of plastic freaking everything decreases to such a point where it no longer benefits the suppliers to make it so available to the consumer...changes may happen.

Hell, look at landline phones...the internet came along, mobile/smart phones came along and stuck...the only place I see a landline phone these days is at school. Seeing a landline phone is like seeing a cassette tape or 8 track player in a car! Ancient, outdated, nearly obsolete it seems. Not the best example, but you get the idea ;)

So yeah, reusable cloth shopping bags are something I have tried but still have trouble remembering to carry them with me when I go shopping. Reusable personal straws (or bamboo/paper) are something I want to look into as I am given upwards of 100 disposable plastic straws any given month for the drinks I buy...what's more, each individual straw is wrapped in plastic!!

Bangkok Runners and Banana Runners have both tried to influence local races to go Plastic Free, but it is difficult to make such drastic changes as big events and keep people safe at the same time (dehydration for those who don't bring their own water or own collapsible running cups, etc.)

So, at school we will have our Environmental awareness days...but at home I'll really have to try harder to be more "active" (not activist) in trying to do my part.

Malama ka 'Aina,
Pae and Guy

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