Monday, January 24, 2011

Pete Seeger, as always, thanks

The headline of this could also be "Why some songs are more like prayer than hymns themselves."

When I'm in a funk, I try to think of what will pull me out real quick. I don't do funk. I don't do sad. So my fingers, without letting my brain come up with something, typed Pete Seeger into the search bar. This could be a dangerous choice, but my fingers were closer to my heart than to my brain.

Dangerous because Pete Seeger is more spiritual than happy. If I wanted happy, I should have gone with Tiny Tim or Buddy Holly. Pete Seeger opens your heart and if you're in a funk, you could be open enough for a dagger to get stuck in. You become raw and vulnerable.

That is why I say that he is like prayer... or even church. His music can break you down when you're alone and leave you exposed to the universe. Or, as in all of his videos, it is a communal experience where you learn about yourself and the world among other people.

Besides, he is the one who put the melody to the Bible verses that became a hit song by the Byrds "Turn, Turn, Turn." And he did popularize the hymn "How Can I Keep From Singing" so perhaps there is a literal connection.

There isn't much a point to this. And the hour-long video (above) is now over. I have been singing and whistling alone in my room, because as he said in the video "There's no such thing as a wrong note as long as you're singing."

So I'll leave you with this. My evening prayer, if you will. And I pray it for everyone who reads this. "Though it's darkest before the dawn, this thought keeps me moving on. Through all this world of joy and sorrow, we still can have singing tomorrows." I pray you all have a singing tomorrow. I will go ahead and sing myself to sleep.


Fresh start to the week

The Boomtown Rats - I Don't Like Mondays
Uploaded by The-Boomtown-Rats. - Music videos, artist interviews, concerts and more.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Bangkok, so far

Alright. My long-awaited drawing of Bangkok. Really, the first thing I've drawn since I left Rome.

What is in this picture? Well, almost everything I've done here so far.

I have taken the BTS (sky train) all over town with the Manchester United logo on it. I just found out, by the way, that Manchester United is a soccer team. And Apparently, Manchester is a... city? I think.

Anyway. Also in the picture, thai massages, Chang, and Seasoning which my week nights usually consist of.

Reclining Buddha I saw with mom and Holy Redeemer Church where I should spend more time.

The Pink Panther which has become the butt of a few jokes. The river where I made my offering. Vistory Monument and Rangnam.

And (of course) JRS! I even drew the office in which I now reside.

So there you have it. To all my Omahans who read this. That is an accurate depiction of where I live and what I do here. So come visit!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Take me home, country roads

If you've been to Bangkok, you see these monsters every day. They roam the streets of the city and swallow people along the road, depositing them all over the country.

Well, I was swallowed by one of these monsters last night. Outside of a KFC, I might add, so that I could renew my visa in Laos.

Sounds innocent enough.

Well, around hour four or five in this cramped minibus, with my Filipino cohorts singing bastardized versions of John Denver ("Country rose, take me home to the place I berlong/ Wess Verginieeee, mountain marma..."), I realized that I would rather be ANYWHERE else in the world.

In particular... home. Instead of shivering under that air conditioner, balled up in the back of a bus pretending to sleep, I could be in my nice warm bed.

I could be cozied up under my frayed turquoise blankets, listening to the cracks and pops in a Johnny Cash album while Maddigan stole more than her fair share of my twin mattress.

A winter chill would come through my paper-thin window and make me turn up my electric blanket and I'd rearrange Maddy so she fit perfectly in her little corner. I'd fall asleep while the record was still turning and know that I was where I should be.

OR, I could spend my night trying to explain the difference between "volunteer for a Catholic organization" and a "missionary." Yeah... that sounds better.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I am going to get a few hours of sleep before my night of Laotian food, Beer Lao and not-so-silently crying myself to sleep.

There are no words

This image speaks volumes.

Ollie and I were out at some jazz bar and after a long day, had run out of motivation to actually hold an adult conversation.

So we played a drawing game I used to play with Abby. Ollie and I each folded a napkin in half and drew an image and then we swapped and had to finish the picture without seeing what the other person drew.

What is INSANE is that on this napkin, we drew the same thing without looking! I drew Ollie riding on a dinosaur, and he drew that same dinosaur drinking a Coke Zero.

I don't know what this says about my life in Bangkok or my life in general, really. It just goes to show that living in this fine metropolis are two NGO workers who think dinosaurs are awesome. And I think that should bring comfort to every Bangkokian out there.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A note to Thailand

Dear Thailand,

On my walk to work today I passed two dogs and a cat that stared at me with the only eye they had. This is a concern. While I am sure that your government is spending its money on more important things, but hear me out.

If the Royal Thai government invests in glass eyes for stray animals, you would create thousands of jobs for your people. Also, tourism could boost if people were aware of the eye wear. (get it!)

It's a win-win.

An encouraging Westerner.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Top five thigns I love about my feet

My good friend (who shall remain nameless to save his reputation, but who does NOT have an American accent) made fun of my toes.

In order to make sure my dignity stays in tact, I will present to the world what I believe to be my best foot features:

1. My pointer toe is longer than my big toe. Someone once told me that was a sign of wisdom. I never checked her sources, but I believe it. Someday that genetically ingrained wisdom will appear, and I will know it all comes from the toes.

2. High arches. This may mean that I need to buy arch support for my cowboy boots, but I could also be a foot model!

3. Scaling. Each toe from the pointer toe is slightly smaller than the other. It is perfect. Live a Verison commercial.

4. Slender. I don't have fat feet. I don't want fat feet. I don't have time for it. My feet fit snuggly in an average shoe and I appreciate that.

5. They are mine! I may have interesting feet, but they are my feet and that makes them exceptional.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

How you know you are hanging with the coolest person in Bangkok

He buys you this for Christmas

And then takes you here.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Quotes of the week

I have gotten some amusing messages this week from the people I love back home. Here's the highlights:

You know what I haven't had in a long time? Fruit. I need to get some of that inside of me. I don't know who Ollie is. But he/she should think I am a god. So, I really respect vegetarians, but Paul McCartney stopped being awesome when he quit eating what? (Clue: The answer is not "Cauliflower.") I think dr. who is getting in her winter-depression mode. Anyway, so today me and isaac got into a feud with night flight pizza and it was awesome - partly because we didn't pay for the food...
I’m on a walker for another five weeks. elvis is dead, molly. don't be so insensitive. Remember when stick stickley went off of the air?

Sunday, January 9, 2011

How to save your sanity

Step 1: Turn on the "Life Aquatic" soundtrack.
Step 2: Bust out those new glitter glue pens you have been saving.
Step 3: Draw a robot.

I drew mine with roller skates, but you don't have to. There are a number of features you can add. A jet pack perhaps.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Photos from work

I realize that this blog might lead one to believe that I don't actually do any work. So, behold. Proof that I do have an internship and that I do work there. Below are photos I have taken for the web site or the publication (Copyright JRS).

Refugee camp in Mae Hong Son province on the Thai/ Burma border.

Pakistani community center

Burmese daycare center. The picture on the wall of Aung San Suu Kyi says "We will win because the only weapons they have are guns."

Hall in an apartment building for Burmese migrant workers. All of the rooms had rubber boots from working in the factories.