Monday, December 8, 2008

Some Deep Thoughts by Jack Handey

To me, clowns aren't funny. In fact, they're kinda scary. I've wondered where this started, and I think it goes back to the time I went to the circus and a clown killed my dad.

It takes a big man to cry, but it takes a bigger man to laugh at that man.

One thing kids like is to be tricked. For instance, I was going to take my little nephew to Disneyland, but instead I drove him to an old burned-out warehouse. "Oh, no," I said. "Disneyland burned down." He cried and cried, but I think that deep down, he thought it was a pretty good joke. I started to drive over to the real Disneyland, but it was getting pretty late.

Dad always thought laughter was the best medicine, which I guess is why several of us died of tuberculosis.

Maybe in order to understand mankind, we have to look at the word itself: "Mankind". Basically, it's made up of two separate words - "mank" and "ind". What do these words mean ? It's a mystery, and that's why so is mankind.

The face of a child can say it all, especially the mouth part of the face.

If you define cowardice as running away at the first sign of danger, screaming and tripping and begging for mercy, then yes, Mr. Brave man, I guess I'm a coward.

I bet one legend that keeps recurring throughout history, in every culture, is the story of Popeye.

When you go in for a job interview, I think a good thing to ask is if they ever press charges.

To me, boxing is like a ballet, except there's no music, no choreography, and the dancers hit each other.

We tend to scoff at the beliefs of the ancients. But we can't scoff at them personally, to their faces, and this is what annoys me.

Probably the earliest flyswatters were nothing more than some sort of striking surface attached to the end of a long stick.

If trees could scream, would we be so cavalier about cutting them down? We might, if they screamed all the time, for no good reason.

Better not take a dog on the space shuttle, because if he sticks his head out when you're coming home his face might burn up.

The memories of my family outings are still a source of strength to me. I remember we'd all pile into the car - I forget what kind it was - and drive and drive. I'm not sure where we'd go, but I think there were some trees there. The smell of something was strong in the air as we played whatever sport we played. I remember a bigger, older guy we called "Dad." We'd eat some stuff, or not, and then I think we went home. I guess some things never leave you.

If a kid asks where rain comes from, I think a cute thing to tell him is "God is crying." And if he asks why God is crying, another cute thing to tell him is "Probably because of something you did."

If you saw two guys named Hambone and Flippy, which one would you think liked dolphins the most? I'd say Flippy, wouldn't you? You'd be wrong, though. It's Hambone.

If you're a young Mafia gangster out on your first date, I bet it's real embarrassing if someone tries to kill you.

If you go parachuting, and your parachute doesn't open, and you friends are all watching you fall, I think a funny gag would be to pretend you were swimming.

Children need encouragement. If a kid gets an answer right, tell him it was a lucky guess. That way he develops a good, lucky feeling.

Whether they find a life there or not, I think Jupiter should be called an enemy planet.

Instead of trying to build newer and bigger weapons of destruction, we should be thinking about getting more use out of the ones we already have.

I think a good gift for the President would be a chocolate revolver. and since he is so busy, you'd probably have to run up to him real quick and give it to him.

Just because swans mate for life, I don't think its that big a deal. First of all, if you're a swan, you're probably not going to find a swan that looks much better than the one you've got, so why not mate for life?

If you ever catch on fire, try to avoid looking in a mirror, because I bet that will really throw you into a panic.

Sometimes I think I'd be better off dead. No, wait, not me, you.

I can't stand cheap people. It makes me real mad when someone says something like, "Hey, when are you going to pay me that $100 you owe me?" or "Do you have that $50 you borrowed?" Man, quit being so cheap!

I think the mistake a lot of us make is thinking the state-appointed shrink is our friend.

If you ever reach total enlightenment while drinking beer, I bet you could shoot beer out of you nose.

I believe in making the world safe for our children, but not our children's children, because I don't think children should be having sex.

If you're in a war, instead of throwing a hand grenade at the enemy, throw one of those small pumpkins. Maybe it'll make everyone think how stupid war is, and while they are thinking, you can throw a real grenade at them.

I think a good product would be "Baby Duck Hat". It's a fake baby duck, which you strap on top of your head. Then you go swimming underwater until you find a mommy duck and her babies, and you join them. Then, all of a sudden, you stand up out of the water and roar like Godzilla. Man, those ducks really take off! Also, Baby Duck Hat is good for parties.

Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you're a mile away and you have their shoes.

Sometimes, when I lie in bed at night and look up at the stars, I think to myself, "Man! I really need to fix that roof."

If you lived in the Dark Ages and you were a catapult operator, I bet the most common question people would ask is, "Can't you make it shoot farther?" "No, I'm sorry. That's as far as it shoots."

Is there anything more beautiful than a beautiful, beautiful flamingo, flying across in front of a beautiful sunset? And he's carrying a beautiful rose in his beak, and also he's carrying a very beautiful painting with his feet. And also, you're drunk.

I wish I would have a real tragic love affair and get so bummed out that I'd just quit my job and become a bum for a few years, because I was thinking about doing that anyway.

If you go flying back through time and you see somebody else flying forward into the future, it's probably best to avoid eye contact.

It's easy to sit there and say you'd like to have more money. And I guess that's what I like about it. It's easy. Just sitting there, rocking back and forth, wanting that money.

I can picture in my mind a world without war, a world without hate. And I can picture us attacking that world, because they'd never expect it.

Whenever you read a good book, it's like the author is right there, in the room talking to you, which is why I don't like to read good books.

Instead of a trap door, what about a trap window? The guy looks out it, and if he leans too far, he falls out. Wait. I guess that's like a regular window.

During the Middle Ages, probably one of the biggest mistakes was not putting on your armor because you were "just going down to the corner."

If I ever get real rich, I hope I'm not real mean to poor people, like I am now.

Sometimes I think you have to march right in and demand your rights, even if you don't know what your rights are, or who the person is you're talking to. Then on the way out, slam the door.

Most of the time it was probably real bad being stuck down in a dungeon. But some days, when there was a bad storm outside, you'd look out your little window and think, "Boy, I'm glad I'm not out in that."

Consider the daffodil. And while you're doing that, I'll be over here, looking through your stuff.

For mad scientists who keep brains in jars, here's a tip: why not add a slice of lemon to each jar, for freshness?

It's sad that a family can be torn apart by something as simple as a pack of wild dogs.

Instead of having 'answers' on a math test, they should just call them 'impressions' and it you got a different 'impression' so what, can't we all be brothers?

If God dwells inside us, like some people say, I sure hope He like enchiladas, because that's what He's getting!

Somebody told me how frightening it was how much topsoil we are losing each year, but I told that story around the campfire and nobody got scared.

I hope that after I die, people will say of me: "That guy sure owed me a lot of money."

If you get invited to your first orgy, don't just show up nude. That's a common mistake. You have to let nudity "happen."

Ambition is like a frog sitting on a Venus Flytrap. The flytrap can bite and bite, but it won't bother the frog because it only has little tiny plant teeth. But some other stuff could happen and it could be like ambition.

Can't the Marx Brothers be arrested and maybe even tortured for all the confusion and problems they've caused?

How come the dove gets to be the peace symbol? How about the pillow? It has more feathers than the dove, and it doesn't have that dangerous beak.

Instead of studying for finals, what about just going to the Bahamas and catching some rays? Maybe you'll flunk, but you might have flunked anyway; that's my point.

I hope that someday we will be able to put away our fears and prejudices and just laugh at people.

I hope, when they die, cartoon characters have to answer for their sins.

If they ever come up with a swashbuckling School, I think one of the courses should be Laughing, Then Jumping Off Something.

It's funny that pirates were always going around searching for treasure, and they never realized that the real treasure was the fond memories they were creating.

DEEP THOUGHTS BY KIDS:I like to go down to the dog pound and pretend that I've found my dog. Then I tell them to kill it anyway because I already gave away all of his stuff. Dog people sure don't have a sense of humor. Age 14

For centuries, people thought the moon was made of green cheese. Then the astronauts found that the moon is really a big hard rock. That's what happens to cheese when you leave it out. Age 6

If we could just get everyone to close their eyes and visualize world peace for an hour, imagine how serene and quiet it would be until the looting started. Age 15

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Dregs of My Thoughts

A couple things I forgot to write about yesterday: ever since I got hit by that truck (well, technically, I hit the truck ... but you know what I mean) I've been jumping at loud sounds and getting surprised easily. I hope my heart can take it. I missed that audition with the Thai TV show, "Dan Daaraa." I called back today and she said the queue is pretty full so I have to call back again at the end of the month. It's a real bummer cause if I'd made it on Monday I could have auditioned and even already recorded for the show. If they can get me in by the end of the month, though, that should be enough time. Even if they record the show and it airs after I'm back in America, that'll get me the exposure I'm hoping for and people will starting getting in touch with me which will give me the needed incentive to return back to Thailand soon. Otherwise, it might be a while.

I was thinking about the purpose of life the other day. That sounds really lame, but I honestly had some really good thoughts. I think two very understated principles related to the purpose of this life is the correct use of God-given agency (a powerful force) and the constant development of self-mastery (obedience to the truth within oneself). The beginnings of my understanding regarding these two principles began on my mission, as far back as the MTC. I was at a point where I found it hard to follow some of the seemingly insignificant rules in place at the MTC. I thought about it long and hard and realized that the reason there were so many rules was because in not too long we would be at a point where we'd be mostly on our own and we'd have to have already developed a testimony of the principle of obedience.

The MTC is the time for missionaries to take the rules and make them their own. There is always someone watching at the MTC. If you disobey a rule, you're probably going to have to answer to it, but in the mission field that may not be the case. Maybe a missionary companionship decides to break certain rules and keep it between them. Who would ever know? So in order to live up to the responsibility that the Lord and mission president gives a missionary by putting them hundreds of miles away from the mission home and leaving them to do the work basically on their own (obviously with the Spirit as a third companion) they have to prove themselves worthy in the MTC by developing a sense of strict obedience.

It's more than just a desire to be obedient. It has to be ingrained within the missionary's personality. And the way for a missionary to do that (as I learned for myself) is to take the rules that they are "forced," per se, to follow and make them their own rules ... internal rules. To the point where it doesn't matter if they have to answer to anyone else for keeping or breaking those rules ... they have developed the attitude that, above all, they have to answer to themselves. The prerequisite to this is obviously a testimony of true principles acquired through humbly petitioning God. Once the rules have become your own, you are ready to basically be "released into the wild."

Taking it backwards a step, this same idea applies to the years growing up as children under the stewardship and governing of parents. Righteous parents teach their children correct principles (normally in the form of rules and a system of reward-punishment), but in order for those children to be successful adults once they fly the nest, they have to have developed the attitude of being able to answer to themselves (to their conscience ... to the Spirit). Basically, parents teach children rules that they must make their own in order to be successful adults; the MTC teaches missionaries rules (based on true principles) that they must make their own in order to be successful missionaries in the mission field ... and now to the purpose of life:

God gives His children rules (commandments ... with associated blessings and punishment) that they must internalize and develop as their own personal belief system in order to one day not only return to Him, but also escape damnation by having proved themselves worthy of continuing to develop and progress eternally without needing His constant supervision. Those of His children who "pass the test" by making the rules their own (holding themselves personally and solely accountable for living up to the true principles of which they have a divinely-given testimony) are worthy of a continued pursuit of eternal progression and success.

And the turning point to making this possible in each circumstance (children-adults, MTC missionaries-field missionaries, "as man is God once was"-"as God is many may become") is the use of the powerful and highly-misunderstood truth of one's personal agency. I'll save that one for later cause that opens up a whole nother can of worms and I'm not even sure any of what I just wrote makes all that much sense. My thoughts are kind of jumbled.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Anger Management Issues

I keep getting shocked lately. I went up to Kalasin this weekend and stayed with my buddy, Suwit, who is the branch president up there. There are no light switches so when you wanna turn the lights on you gotta plug in a switch. And I swear, every time I would plug in the bathroom light I'd get the crap shocked out of me. And then again at the English camp ... the power to the laptop we were using must not have been grounded cause anything metal on or plugged into the computer zapped me. Even the escalators exiting the subway ... shocks me every time.

This last week I went back up to Kalasin (my greenie area) for a few days. It was great to see all the members there and see so many people that I taught that are still strong in the Church and even contributing to the continued growth of that small branch through their callings and personal missionary efforts. There are a couple guys (Bank and Bon) that should be putting their mission papers in sometime soon. It was great to hang out with Suwit and catch up with him. We were pretty tight there back in my greenie days and he even moved down to the Pakkret branch for a while for work while I was serving there.

To tell the truth, though, besides seeing all the members up there, I couldn't stand being in Kalasin. I forgot how completely boring it is. There is literally nothing going on. I think that's why President sends a lot of greenies there. They don't know any better yet so everything is interesting up there ... but it's not exactly a place where you'd wanna take an extended vacation. I was glad to be up there that week though because I got to celebrate Loy Krathong with the members. If I'd been down in Bangkok I might not have been able too because this year it coincided with the King's older sister's funeral so they didn't really have any big Loy Krathong celebrations.

The same day I got back from Kalasin I had to go up to an English camp in Chainat. I took a bus to meet up with the staff that were gonna be driving up. The money collector lady on the bus would not speak Thai to me. I'd ask her a question and she'd just make a face or something like that was the only way she would answer me. Like she would just point with her eyes. And for some reason that ticked me off ... something so little and stupid like that. I eventually got off the bus farther away from where I needed to be because she wouldn't tell me what stop I needed to get off on so that just put me in an even worse mood. I refused to pay more money for a taxi or motorcycle to take me there so I started walking.

There was this drugged out kid on the sidewalk so I walked into the park and must have walked half a mile in the direction I needed to be going only to find out that the only exit out of the park was the one I'd walked through in the first place. Of course I got even more ticked off. And the whole time in my mind I'm telling myself, "I have no reason to make such a big deal out of this. I'm here walking through this beautiful park and life is pretty great. Just try to enjoy the now." So I guess it's good that at least I can recognize when I'm being irrational and I'm trying to deal with it. Eventually I hopped the fence (pain in the butt) because I refused to walk all the way back to the entrance and I was carrying a couple heavy bags.

The English camp was fun. There were about 100 high school kids that we spent 2 days with doing activities and assignments and helping them apply their English language skills. I decided not to let the kids know I spoke Thai until the end of the camp, but that was a lot harder than I thought because when I hear Thai now or when someone speaks to me in Thai I don't translate it to English first or think of a response in English and translate it to Thai. For the most part I do my day-to-day thinking in English, but when it comes to speaking Thai my brain just switches to Thai mode.

Getting back from the English camp was a hassle. I rode with the staff from Chainat to Suphanburi. Then took a bus from there to Mochit in Bangkok. Then hopped on another bus to go pick up my motorcycle at Big C near Central World. Then I got some gas and started driving home. After hours of traveling I was almost home ... when I got hit by a truck. I've never been in an accident before so this was my first.

I was just driving along and at a safe speed too cause it had been raining and the roads were kind of slick. There was a truck parked (not moving) on the left side of the road (we drive on the left here) with its blinker on. Of course I saw him, but I had the right of way so I kept driving straight ahead in my lane (the farthest left of the two left lanes). And just as I was about to pass him he started to turn into the road. I turned/braked as much as I could on a slick road to avoid him and honked my horn and if he had stopped right then I probably could've have avoided him, but he just kept on turning and I slammed into the front right side of the truck.

Me and the motorcycle went down hard, fortunately not into oncoming traffic. With broken plastic and glass shattering around me. And it was right at that point that I lost control of my emotions and rage took over. As I write about it I feel shame for my inability to keep myself in check. Adrenaline was pumping through my veins and I got up out of the road and walked over to the truck and slammed both hands on the hood as hard as I could while yelling and swearing at the passengers through the windshield. Could I have hurt someone in the vehicle if they had stepped out of the cab right then? I don't know, but that uncontrollable rage only lasted for about 10 seconds before it dissipated.

I realized cars in the other lanes were honking at me to get my motorcycle out of the road so they could continue on their way home. They see accidents all the time. And I was obviously not badly injured as I was up on two feet. So I pulled my motorcycle out of the road into a side street and the truck drove over too. He called his insurance and we waited. The passengers were a couple guys and a couple girls in their late-20's. They checked to see if I was okay and honestly I did feel okay, but that was just the adrenaline. Eventually my hip started killing like it'd been overextended or something. It's still pretty sore today and so are the muscles in my left leg, left arm, and neck. Otherwise, no major injuries.

The guy (driver) admitted he was wrong, but then started arguing with me about how I had no place to slam his hood like that ... it had left handprints in his hood that he'd have to get pounded out. At first, I got defensive. How could anyone be expected to be accountable for their actions after getting into a car accident? Eventually, though, I realized that even if I felt like the person who had slammed his hood was not me (because I wasn't in control), I still had to take responsibility for it. It reminds me of the guy in Colorado who pulled over cause he'd had too much to drink. Then another drunk driver slammed into the back of his car and it killed the first driver's two kids. So he got out and walked over to the driver of the other car and beat him to death. Now he's in jail. And even though it feels like I can sympathize with him, I don't wanna be resigned to the thought that under circumstances I can't be in control of my own emotions. I know I can be. And especially when it comes to anger ... I have to keep it in check.

So eventually the insurance guy came and after an initial misunderstanding where it looked like the truck driver was trying to claim he wasn't at fault for the accident, the insurance rep agreed that his customer was at fault ... but that there was also the issue of the hood. That would have to be a completely separate case holding me responsible for the damage. In the end, the cost of repairs to the motorcycle would be a bit less than repairing the hood of his truck so they offered to let me just fix the motorcycle myself. The driver did, however, offer to take me around to get the parts for a cheaper price if I got quoted too high. He also told me that if I ended up going to get checked out by a doctor I could call him and he'd pay for the cost of the visit. I haven't gone to a doctor though. I'm just taking some Ibuprofen and trying to rest.

Honestly, the best way to describe how I feel is that "I got hit by a truck," but I'll be fine. And the motorycle didn't have any major damage so that's a good thing. The thing that has affected me more than the accident itself, though, was the realization that I have a long way to go in developing self-control over my emotions and appetites. If I hadn't slammed his hood, the insurance guy would've come and opened a case and would've paid for the repairs to my motorcycle and any hospital visits and that would be the end of it. But actions, no matter how little we may feel we are in control when making the choices that lead to those actions, have their consequences. And my consequences were that I had got hit by a truck and then still have to fork out the money to pay for the repairs myself.

I was supposed to have an audition for this Thai TV show called "Dan Daaraa" the next day, but I wasn't really feeling up to it so I called and moved it to the end of the week. I went down to the Immigration Office because my visa expired on that day and if I didn't renew it I'd get fined 500 baht/day. Fortunately, my friend's (Naam) little sister's (Tan) boyfriend's (Bio) father is like the head guy of Immigration in Thailand. I talked to Bio and he got me hooked up. They took good care of me and got me all the paperwork without having to wait in the obscenely long lines.

After signing everything, though, the lady helping me told me I just needed to pay the 2,000 baht visa renewal fee. I excused myself and got on the phone with Bio quick. I was under the impression that the "help" his dad could get me was that I could renew my visa for free. If it was just a matter of going down there and renewing it like everyone else I could've done that on my own. Eventually, he talked to his dad again and they got it renewed for me for free which was a major blessing for me. Money is tight, if you know what I mean ... like real tight. So this helped a ton. Now I can stay in Thailand for 30 more days and, lucky for me, my plane back to America leaves on the same day my visa expires.

I bought the first 4 seasons of The Office (TV series) for a good deal and I've been watching those a lot. I love that show. I'm getting real excited for Christmas. I'll be here for the stake Christmas activity and I'll get to perform a few numbers with another RM here named Devin Castleton. I'm gonna get together with him this week to practice and eat dinner with him and his wife. I'll get home just in time to celebrate a week of the Christmas season (better than Christmas Day itself) and spend time with my family. Hopefully there's snow. It's so hot here. I'm always sweating. Gotta shower twice a day.

I'm loving it here ... mostly. I honestly do get lonely sometimes, even with as many friends as I have here. The fact of the matter is, I can only handle seeing most of my friends (members, former investigators, etc.) occassionally, and there are only a select few that I would really like to spend most of my time with. But I don't think those select few believe me when I say that because they see that there are so many other people here that want a piece of my time. In the end though, I'm the one who gets to decide how I divide my time and who I spend it with.

I went to use an internet cafe the other day and I saw this sign "Thai Only." I asked the people working the food stand out in front if that actually meant they refused to let foreigners use the internet there and they said that it was really only meant for the black people in the neighborhood (there are a lot of different nationalities in this area where I live). I couldn't believe it. I've only experienced minimal racism in America against black people and I never thought I would see it anywhere else, especially somewhere like Thailand where there's not exactly anyone with the Aryan mentality going on. And here I thought all Thai people were equally as kind and ใจดี. P.S. I love Ernie Halter's music. Check him out.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

As Far Away As I Can Get

Here's a picture of me and Kami on Halloween. I already wrote about it, but I'm putting a picture up here cause she asked me not to put the pictures up on Facebook. Even the pictures we took at Pattaya with her and her friends have the rumor mill within the Church here in Thailand working at full capacity. Creepy picture though, huh? I don't know how Kami can manage to look scary and beautiful at the same time, but she pulls it off.

I moved from Don Muang down to Srinakharin. Today I started riding my motorcycle back up to Don Muang and got pulled over by the police. I'm settled to my lot in life as a cop-magnet. I wasn't wearing a helmet and apparently I was driving in the wrong lane and apparently I need a motorcycle license in addition to my driver's license. So basically I should've been screwed.

Of course I tried to talk only in English with the cops at first. They kept pointing to their heads and telling me in Thai that I needed a helmet, but then I'd just take off my hat and wave it in their face and tell them I already had a hat. Eventually, I realized they weren't just gonna let me go so I figured I could do better at saving myself in Thai. After initially being offended that I refused speak Thai to him when I could speak it just fine, he became a lot more easygoing and I talked him down from 1,000 baht fine to 500 to 300 and in the end only ended paying 200 baht. Then I bought a helmet.

By that time I was already late for my lunch meeting in Don Muang and then to top it off a huge storm hit right where I was at. Not only was it raining cats and dogs, but I swear there were hurricane-strength winds blowing around. I ended up soaked before deciding to park the bike and take a taxi. I met with Kung and she introduced me to one of her mentors, Suwit, who is a rich businessman in Thailand that has set up concerts for big name singers for a number of years. He's gonna help introduce to a lot of other producers and singers and take me to their concerts and stuff.

He also told me that as opposed to a demo CD or just singing acapella when I go to various music labels, I need to have a backing track that I can pop into the CD player and sing along with to give them a better idea. So I bought some cheap music programs (i.e. Cakewalk, Finale) to get working on that. I also made some business cards (just my name and contact info) at his recommendation.

I'm so glad I'm not back in America for all the election drama that's going on right now. I'm settled to the fact that it looks like Obama is gonna win the election, but when that happens I am predicting with a 95% certainty that there will shortly be an increase in terrorist attacks (on a large-scale) on American soil. I'm talking about the next few months after the New Year.

Terrorists are smart ... and they're patient. They've been waiting silently over the last few years (since the campaigning has started) for America to feel falsely safe and elect a president with weak international policies. Then when they hit America (which they will), we will be exposed as a weak superpower with neither bark nor bite. This is my prediction.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Vintage Wine of the Lord's Thai Vineyard

I got plenty of sleep on Saturday night, but for some reason I kept dozing off in church on Sunday. I'm usually drowsy in church and/or the temple, but this time I was like sleep-deprived. So when I got home at about 5 PM I took a nap ... and woke up at like 12:30 AM haha. So I've been here in this internet cafe all night and the sun just barely came up.

On Halloween I had a date with Kami. I rode my motorcycle all the way from Don Muang down to Srinakharin. I realized as I was driving 100/kmh on the main road that it probably would've been smart to get a helmet as I was the only one without one.

I stopped by Tesco-Lotus and bought some small watermelons to take to her place. Thai pumpkins suck for carving. They're too short and too hard. Watermelons worked great though. First of all they're easier to carve cause the shell or whatever it's called is pretty thin and plus you can eat the guts!

Then I wanted to make-up our faces Halloween-style. Kami didn't really want to, but eventually I won out. We went with the dark eyes and some dripping blood down the face. It was pretty simple, but freaky-looking. It scared all the neighborhood kids. I think the reason Kami didn't wanna make up her face was cause she knew everyone would stare. The thing is, I'm already used to everyone staring at me cause I'm a farang!

We went to Seacon Square and ate pizza and then went to see a scary Thai movie called Coming Soon (โปรแกรมหน้า). We found out when they got there that the theater was having a promotion that everyone who went to see that movie all dressed up on Halloween night got to see it for free! That was an unexpected surprise. They said we were the first two people to take advantage of the promotion and we were there for the last showing.

This movie was seriously intense. It wasn't like all the American horror movies that crank up the gore factor and just leave you feeling disturbed. Coming Soon was just more jumpy and intense than anything. I thought Kami was gonna break my arm she was clutching so tight. There's a Thai movie coming out in early December called On-Bak 2 that I seriously cannot wait to see. It looks even better than the first one. When we left the theater it was raining like crazy and all the streets were flooded. Driving home was like motorcycle surfing.

On Saturday I drove downtown with Naam to meet her friend Lerm. So it was me and two beautiful Thai girls. Lerm took us to dinner at a restaurant right on the Chao Phraya River across from The Golden Palace. And then we drove to the other side of the river and went up to a bar that had an incredible view of Wat Arun.

This week I'm moving down near Srinakharin. It'll be nice to have a change of pace and get to experience another part of Thailand. Most elders get to serve in like 5 or 6 areas. I only had 3 so I need to get around a little more. Plus, living down there will be closer to downtown Bangkok. Another thing is that it'll be nice to be close to Kami.

My friend Keng has been letting me borrow her laptop which has been a huge help. I just go over to the Amari Airport Hotel here in Don Muang and chill in their nice lobby and use their free wi-fi. I wanna try to get all my Thai music off CDs and loaded onto my iPod too. Speaking of my iPod, the screen broke. So Mom and Dad, if you wanna get me something for Christmas you can buy me a new iPod screen for a 5.5-generation 80-GB iPod Video for about 30 bucks on

As for the whole rockstar dream, I've been kind of a lazy bum about really moving forward with it. As of right now, the only thing that would bring me back to Thailand right after Christmas would be a record contract with a major recording label. And as that's looking like it might not happen this time around, I'll more than likely be back in school at BYU this winter. Maybe I'll head back to Thailand again in the spring or summer.

And to save money for a plane ticket, the plan is to live in my van during winter semester. Shower at the gym. Do my laundry at friend's places. Haha I know that sounds like a terrible idea, but if that's what I end up doing it'll be an adventure. And I love adventures.

On Sunday the Don Muang branch president called me into his office because he wanted to get to know me better. We ended up talking for a while and I got to know him pretty well too. He's only been a member for a little over a year. Don Muang's former branch president (President Prasong) who served while I was a missionary there recently moved to Chiang Mai. If not for this new branch president (President Phitsanu) it would probably have to be an elder serving as the branch president in Don Muang.

The interesting thing about his conversion story is that his first introduction to the missionaries and to the Church was the SYS music group from 30 years ago. He only knew them for their music, but when he'd play guitar with his buddies he'd call himself a "Latter-day Saint." Years later, the missionaries that he miraculously became acquainted with and who saw him baptized into the Church were, lo and behold, SYS missionaries from this generation.

On a side note, the SYS group has since been dissolved and I believe this has to do with, in part, the narrow-minded attitudes of missionaries within the mission that SYS couldn't fulfill the calling of missionaries to "invite others to come unto Christ." I experienced the same kind of negative attitude from missionaries within and without the music group while I was serving and it was a real drain on the potential of its success.

What if President Phitsanu had no knowledge of "Latter-day Saints" and therefore no reason to strike up a conversation with the missionaries who saw him baptized when they ran into each other by chance in a stairwell. He may have yet to be a member of the Lord's true church and Don Muang would necessarily have a missionary serving as the leading priesthood holder of the branch. If anything is gonna take away from an elder's potential to invite others to come unto Christ (excluding those who are already members) it is having to take on the time-consuming responsibilities of a branch president.

President Phitsanu's conversion story was just another confirmation to me that SYS was an inspired program and I was called by God to serve there for the majority of my mission for good reason. I saw a lot of success through the combined efforts of the elders and sisters in that group and I know that is much success yet to come, both in terms of proselyting and baptizing as well as public affairs for the Church in Thailand, that I may never become aware of.

The thing that comforts me most is my personal knowledge that the Lord is pleased with my efforts as a full-time missionary. I am confident that having done all I could do, the rest is left in His hands and He will use future generations of hard-working missionaries to continue to work in His vineyard here in Thailand and see that work bear fruits.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Bob Dylan is a Terrible Musician

I can never think of a title for my blog entries, but this kid next to me in the internet cafe is watching a Google video of Bob Dylan and I just want to comment that I think Bob Dylan is a terrible musician and I don't know how he got famous. He should've just written good music and had other more attractive people with actually pleasant voices sing his songs.

Just like at the Beijing Olympics when they had a cute little girl lip-sync to another little girl's voice cause the second girl (the actual singer) had a snaggletooth and wouldn't have represented her country as well. Those Commies.

This lady I know from my mission (not a member, never really an investigator, but more than just an English student) here in Don Muang let me borrow one of her extra motorcycles and that makes life so much more convenient. Except for tonight. I hit a stray dog and wrecked the motorcycle and killed the dog ... I kid.

No, but I parked it at Big C in the motorcycle parking lot. The guard on duty at the time said if I came back in the middle of the night and the gate was locked to get the guard at the other end to unlock it. So I get there at about midnight and run into this other guard who was just a total prick and told me I'd have to come back and get it in the morning.

When he went back to his guard booth I stuck around and pretended like I was on the phone while plotting a way to squeeze the motorcycle through the loosely locked gate, but fortunately I didn't have to go through the trouble cause another guard at my end came back to his booth and totally helped me out. He's a man who knows the meaning of customer service. It was kind of a hassle for him, but eventually he got the bike out for me and I got home on my own. What a nice guy.

The reason I parked there in the first place was cause I hopped a bus down to meet Naam in Asoke and we went to an MTV party together. One of her good friends is the art director for MTV. He just hooked me up with a photo shoot on Saturday at Jatujak Park so I can have a portfolio to start with. He got us into the party too. It was chock-full of celebrities and musicians and good music and free drinks. Thaitanium and Buddha Bless were there hanging out upstairs.

The leader of the hip-hop group Thaitanium, Khan Ngoen (ขันเงิน), was just chilling on his own so I went and chatted him up. We talked for a good 20 minutes back and forth about how things are going with his group and my efforts to become a Thai rockstar here. I ended up getting his number and he saved mine and he told me to give him a call whenever I need any help or info or anything. That was a lot easier than I figured it would be.

Now I just need to do that with a few more celebrities and producers and get my name out there. I also got the number of this girl Honey that was giving out free Hang drinks cause she said she wanted to know more farangs to be able to practice her English ... and plus she was cute.

Let's see ... what else to write about. There's some stuff been going down that it would be so helpful to just vent about, but this probably isn't the best venue to do it in. Looks like a blog isn't exactly the outlet I thought it would be. What a waste of time. Suffice it to say that I'll be moving out of Don Muang because I'm feeling a lot smothered by some of the members here. Plus, I'll be moving closer to downtown Bangkok which will be a lot more convenient.

On Sunday Sister Pu's daughter, Naam, got baptized and she asked me to baptize her cause we've gotten to be pretty good friends. That was special. When I first heard she'd decided to be baptized I honestly wondered if she was really ready or if she was just doing it because she felt like it was a good thing to do, but after listening to her testimony at her baptismal service I know she was more ready than a lot of investigators I've seen get baptized in Thailand and elsewhere. Her testimony is solid.

Last week I went to Siam Ocean World with Kami. That girl is gorgeous. And I like her a lot. Is that giving away too much in an open forum? I don't care. I said it and I'm keeping it there. It was pretty cool, but not very big. I gotta shake hands with a sea turtle ... is that what they're called? I forget some English words sometimes. You would think that those would be replaced by a whole load of new Thai words, but I still feel like my Thai is kind of broken right now. These next couple months should give me some time to heal it and fix it.

I also went down to Pattaya with Kami and a couple of her friends from high school. The beach down there is pretty, but nowhere near as beautiful as Krabi. And plus there are way too many farangs in Pattaya. I hate farangs. They don't belong in Thailand. I don't consider myself one. But I don't consider myself Thai either. I don't know what I am. I guess I'm just the mutated baby that no one can diagnose ... just like SYS was when I was in it.

While we were chilling on the beach this guy came up doing Henna tattoos. He sat down and put the pen to my arm resting on my knee. I thought he was just gonna show me a little sample, but before you know it he's done a whole scorpion and then a sun with a ying-yang in the middle to boot.

Granted, I could've stopped him at any time and been like, "what do you think you're doing?," cause I never really told him he could, but I didn't. And toward the end I realized he was gonna want his money. I used the fact that he didn't even ask to haggle him down from 300 to 150, but I probably still got ripped off. Plus it got smudged soon after anyway and didn't have time to stick. What a waste.

I'm still growing my hair out. It's pretty sexy. I don't know if I'm getting a bit chubbier or if I notice that I am kind of chubby cause I hear it so much from members who mention that I'm fatter (a lot of it is that I'm just bigger in general from going to the gym after my mission ... I was scrawny on my mission), but I gotta start exercising ... even in spite of the heat.

I can't think of anything else to write about right now. Oh yeah, one thing: Ernie Halter sings this song called Allison and the name "Allison" is in the chorus. I wanna change it up to be about Kalasin (my greenie area) and make the lyrics fit my feelings about that little city. That'd be fun. I just wrote that so I won't forget.