— Anything, not everything, but lots in-between | February 26, 2023
Well this is way late so I better account: Moving week; The week in review; If I were God; Long walks making videos; Hua Hin; Kanchanaburi; Artificial Intelligence; A new dietary paradigm; My funniest tweets
Moving day began last Sunday evening when I picked up my friend’s nice Mazda3 at Kata beach, about 15 minutes from my place (when there’s no traffic). I thought, well, since it’s the last unencumbered evening, maybe drive the additional 15 minutes to the infamous Patong Beach.
It’s a place that goes completely nuts every night. Fun in small doses.
Traffic was hellish, I was in a car, not a motorbike, so it took 30. Then it began the uncharacteristic tropical downpour for this time of year because people are dying of heart-attacks suddenly, at home (or is it the other way around…? I forget). Once I get there, the spirit to engage had left me. Grabbed a bite at any old place, pulled a U-ie, and then headed back home to contemplate the next day and get some sleep.
I was up rarin’ to go about 04.00 Monday morn, typical nowadays. Still Sunday, USA, so I worked on finishing up my Sunday Scribbles. Once the morning had worn off, I decided it was time to go mail my motorcycle to Pattaya.
One thing about Thailand…they’re photocopy-crazy. Whole industries exist just to supply all the needed photocopies you’ll require to get anything official done here. The problem is, you never know what you’ll need photocopies of, or how many. And even if you knew, you’ve forgotten, or it changed. Also, some you have to sign in their presence, others not…it’s all shrouded in
Had I hopped back on the bike—the drive was only a half click—then, because of the divided road, I’d have had to continue on until the U-turn cutout. Then, I would have had to go past the post office to the U-turn cutout going to opposite direction…
During that 1 km walk there and back, I had this peace-epiphany. I love my motorbike, but you might realize the overhead that vehicles of any sort impose upon you when you’re hoofin’ it and, importantly, it’s in someone else’s charge.
So I got it done and having planned to catch a ride for the 4 km back home, I walked instead and contemplated even more about how the normal everyday things in life weigh you down and without realizing it explicitly, part of the reason I am the way I am is that in a past life I tended toward certain ways that I’ve now recaptured.
The week in review
For an overview to kick this off, I got the preliminaries done, above, packed, loaded, and headed out Tuesday morning at 04.30 after both too little sleep (maybe 3 hours) and too little coffee (1 cup at 7/11).
The 665 km, 9 hr drive, was rather hellish. But just like feet and walking, it’s one next kilometer in front of the last. Generally, Thais are awful drivers, and the roadway flow makes it obvious why the death toll is amongst the highest on earth. I’ve said it many times before. If you mix vehicles doing 5 and those doing 150 in the same space, shit’s gonna happen. Add in all the other variables (poor street lighting, Thais who don’t bother replacing burnt out bulbs, karmic death wishes…) and, shit happens. I’ve seen a lot of mayhem and body parts in my three years here.
I prefer it to the alternatives because, while the alternatives promise safer roads which to some extent they deliver upon, it’s otherwise a be-careful-what-you-ask-for menace. In Thailand, you can travel thousands of miles and never see one cop issuing tickets. Speeding? No such thing on any practical level.
I’d rather take my chances, be forever vigilant, and let chips fall…
… Once I got to Hua Hin, I drove to a general area I’d heard about, parked, grabbed a club soda in a bar, opened my Agoda app (which I prefer to Bookings), and did the near-me search (filtered for price and swimming pool). Took 10 minutes to have my 3 best candidates; got back in the car, when to the one that looked the most interesting.
It was an apartment 100 meters from the beach, over a board shop. I walked in, said I just saw them on Agoda and can I see the room, yada. She shows me the room, I ask if I can pay, she says to just book it via the app which I do…she looks at her app, asks, “are you Richard?” “That’s me,” and she just hands me the key.
It’s happening that way more frequently. Knowing people go around them, Agoda has focussed on being full service, so it makes it easy on landlords (and gives guests some protections too). They’ve become more of a property manager than just a booking agent. I wasn’t even asked for any ID, no form to fill out, no information to provide.
“Here’s the key, let us know if you need anything.”
… After those two nights, I did a less-than-early drive to Kanchanaburi, home province of the Death Railway, and man did I ever eat that stuff up. No reservations travel, again, I snagged a lovely riverside room for 15 bucks/night, and liked it so much that my intended 2-night stay turned into 3.
Sunday morning’s early—but-not-too-early—drive to Pattaya, straight through dead-center Bangkok, was surprisingly uneventful. The freeways and tollways are modern and well appointed, and traffic was super light. I almost took my guard down.
I already had a hotel in mind but hadn’t booked yet. The navigator was set for that, and it’s in the center of the area I’m intending to find a studio apartment. It’s Na Kluea or just Naklua, depending on how you want to say or write it.
I prepared this annotated screen clip for Yui, the GF. I used to live in Jomtien, which she knows (and we just visited a few weeks ago), and she loves the fish market near where I’m intending to live. So, those are the reference points.
… I arrived at the hotel, it looked fine and dandy, so I showed her the Agoda listing on my phone, asking if I could just book direct, and she said yes, but “it cost more.” So I pressed the button and that was it. Go figure.
It was on the top, the 7th floor and gloriously, no fucking bugs…
To round this section out, the amazing thing happened. As you’ll note, above, the first thing I did Monday was to ship the motorbike, heading out Tuesday morning. Once I’d checked into the hotel on Sunday, early afternoon, I took a long walk to survey the area, which I’ve dubbed “Little Moscow,” but that’s a story for another time…
Toward the end of that walk, I happened along a Thai restaurant packed with people, both Thai and farang.
As I’m eating, I noticed that my Thai number had 3 missed calls from another Thai number. Then, my Line app fired up. It was the Thai Post Office, and in really good English:
“Hey, we’ve got your motorbike. Please confirm your delivery address, and we’ll drop it off tomorrow morning for you. If you’re in a hotel, let the front desk know, and we’ll coordinate with them in case you’re not there. We’ll call you when we get there.”
I gave him the name of the hotel, and he promptly shot back a Google Maps screen clip with it circled, asking, “is this the one?”
Consider that in America, our chief Post Office reference is “Going Postal.” I keep telling you there are very good reasons I live in Thailand instead of “Merca,” and this is but one of a million of them.
If I were God…
I’m certain that everyone fantasizes about it. What if you could simply will anything you want into reality?
Would you be petty and vindictive, or would you be thoughtful, just, and merciful?
Or, perhaps you’re a 3-wishes from a genie-in-a-bottle type. Same thing.
Same questions. What would you wish for?
Me? Riches beyond my imagination? The most beautiful (and nice and pleasant) woman in the world, even realizing that’s a mutually-exclusive proposition (but I’m God, remember?)? Unassailed prominence and importance (goes with the job, anyway)?
Nope. I’d be content to struggle and live just my same life, just one little God-act: Death To All Mosquitos, globally, no exceptions, and right down to the last living larva. Complete and utter eradication.
Anyone with me on that?
Yes, they have a role in the food chain. Here’s an objective-sounding treatment on that subject:
All species of plants and animals have their place in nature. Mosquitoes are no exception. Although no species depend solely on mosquitoes as a food source, indiscriminate predators will eat mosquito larvae and or adults if other food sources are not readily available; therefore, mosquitoes are part of a link in the food chain. During their aquatic stage, mosquito larvae provide food for other aquatic insects such as dragonfly nymphs, beetles, fish, and other water-dwelling creatures. Mosquito control treats larvae that are in areas not generally controlled by natural predators. Many salt marsh mosquitoes hatch in the high marsh where fish cannot get to them. By treating the areas that are not being controlled by natural predators, mosquitoes remain part of the overall food chain. As adults both male and female mosquitoes need liquid nourishment for food. Mosquitoes may serve as an incidental pollinator as they collect nectar for nourishment.https://lcmcd.com/faqs/q-what-beneficial-purpose-do-mosquitoes-serve/
I say fuck ’em, they can make do without. By the way, “liquid nourishment” is an euphemism for blood…i.e., puncturing skin, sucking blood out (human and other animals), and leaving allergenic toxins behind to swell and itch. FUCK THEM ALL TO HELL!!!
… Thailand has to be the mosquito capital of the world. There is no time of day, no geographical area, where they’re not present and active. Yep, 24-fuckin’-7. They range from the big-ass black ones that are pretty slow and easy to kill, to the tiny little lighting-fast brown ones you can hardly see, and they have the magical powers of disappearance once you do see them.
Fortunately, I’ve become somewhat immune—in that a sting has an effect of only about 15-20 minutes or so. The other night I was at an outdoor restaurant in Kanchanaburi, and before I knew it, my feet, calves, and shins were littered with stings. Both legs were burning-itching to the extreme. Fortunately, the restaurant was at the hotel, and so I paid the bill, went to my room, got the shower water as hot as possible, and ran it over my lower legs.
This seems to hasten the clearance and provides immediate relief. My “theory” is that the hot water dilates your surface blood vessels, improving circulation; so, that dilutes the offending allergen for faster clearance. Can anyone confirm or dispute that? At any rate, works for me.
When I was building the house out in Isan in the spring of 2020 I always wondered why the workers have the fans always set to high, but pointed downward…not up or straight across. Thais always have the fans on high, pointed down towards the floor.
Think about why. I know why.
… A few months ago, Yui came down with a fever. Really bad. Hospital for 4 days. Dengue fever. She’d gone with some friends to a national park thing, caught a mosquito sting; right place, right time. Few die from Dengue (weak, infirm, co-morbid…just like many other things…), but it’s no picnic for anyone.
When you get the Dengue virus from a mosquito and survive, you’re immune for life. The problem is, there are 4 strains and there’s no cross-immunity. I know a few expats who’ve had all four. I suspect I may have had it once, when I ended up uncharacteristically in bed, weak-ass-pathetic, and with a fever for a solid 48 hours. I’ll never know for sure.
Death to all mosquitos.
And if I’m not to be God—even for the few necessary minutes—then that is my solemn prayer to the heavens.
Please and thank you, God.
Long walks making videos
Well, sometimes driving, too. I kicked off the week with this drive-time video, only a few hours out of Phuket.
Here’s a nutshell: Just as we have faith-based religion, one with its Christian Soldiers… we have religion-based “Science” with its Science Mercenaries. It also has high scholars and at least one Pope-like Chancellor, self-declared to be the embodiment of
Christ The Science. The second part of it raises the obvious question: “how in the word do these weird fucks—like the checked-baggage women’s clothes thief in charge of nuclear waste disposal, or that ugly-ass Surgeon-General Transvestite—attain such status instead of being told to fuck the fuck off and go away, as would happen in any rational world?”
I explain that latter part fully and comprehensively, and once you get it, you can’t unget it.
… I’m walking so much, every day, and I’m loving it. It’s a rare day I don’t do at least 10 km, and many are over 15 km in total. I don’t log even half of them. I’ll do 5 km to grab some chow at the drop of a hat. I don’t even think about it, and the time is irrelevant to anything important. My average walking pace is 4.7 km/hr, which is more than a stroll and less than a power-walk. I call it “city-walking pace,” which is a pace where you’re going from somewhere to someplace, with some purpose in mind.
My working hypothesis is that we’re made to sprint for short duration and walk at a “going somewhere” pace for distances. Sprinting doesn’t hurt…you run out of oxygen; you have to stop (it’s like nitrous in a car or afterburner in a jet). Walking doesn’t hurt. Steady state “jogging” hurts.
The other thing I do oftentimes is make a video as I walk. I did these two walking tours of Rawai, Phuket, before I left (here and here).
My first time there, having heard about it forever. You can read up about it. It’s a place for tourists and expats alike. It’s about a 3 hr drive southwest from Bangkok, so easily accessible. My theory is that it’s there because of the railway running up and down the peninsula from Singapore to Bangkok, so there were always a lot of people and goods coming, going, and passing through, back in the good ‘ole days.
That image should give a clue as to why I don’t much care for the place, at all. I’ve esserntially checked off a list item, no desire to return. Interestingly, Yui once told me, “I don’t like Hua Hin.” I didn’t probe as to why, and I don’t know if it’s the same reason I don’t care for it.
My reasons are plain to see in the two videos I made.
Loved loved loved it. Nothing I didn’t like, really, except the mosquitos…but what ya gonna do?
The most unexpected surprise was its ubiquitous cleanliness everywhere. They appear to be as obsessed with keeping shit in order and swept clean (even clearing fallen leaves from sidewalks and lawns multiple times daily) as a German village, if you know what I mean.
It’s arguably the most historical province in Thailand from a Westerner perspective, especially for WWII buffs. It hosts three war cemeteries for the 13,000 POWs killed by the Japs during the building of the 415 km long Death Railway, with its 600 bridges—6 of which are long span. It was constructed in about 17 months total time. There’s at least two very popular films dealing with that, The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957) and The Railway Man (2013). Both are excellent according to my tastes.
Of the total POW dead, about half are Brits, a third Australian, and the rest Dutch primarily, and others. Only about 600 American POWs worked on it and of those, 130-ish were killed. Most remains were repatriated.
It should be noted that of the total workforce, the POWs are a “small part.” The total workforce was 200,000-250,000, made up mostly of conscripted labor from the region. Chinese, Malaysian, Burmese, and Thai (Siamese). About 100,000 of them died as well. That should not be forgotten, for an overall perspective of what evil the Japs committed in their imperial quest for brutal dominance over other human beings.
Death by government (democide).
Many thanks to my Ozzie mate and host, Steve. He’s lived in Thailand for 32 years, and most of it in this region. He teaches English classes to college students at a local University. I’ve known Steve via this blog for over 10 years. Since moving to Thailand three years ago, we’ve exchanged a thousand emails and have had many video chats.
This was our first in-person meeting. What a great knowledgeable, smart, and experienced tour guide. He shuttled me all over the place in his Toyota Hilux pickup, a serious and proven workhorse of a vehicle.
For a while, I was putting the intelligence part in scare quotes. I did a tweet thread on it a couple of months back.
That centers around the proposition that by any reasonable definition of intelligence, it can’t be programmed beyond what is required to learn, then it’s on its own. Currently, we see that the efforts to program one to spout canned propaganda is from the Left. Rest assured that the Right will get on that. The religious, too.
So, we’ll have fancy computers to spout the same bromides, slogans, sayings, and stupid shit humans already regurgitate and vomit. So, more aptly, it’s Artificial Efficiency.
… Then I saw it carry on a conversation, and it was for sure non-scripted; and I went wow, holy fuck! It’s real.
And I got to thinking about that. Did a little digging, and it turns out that (the gist I got) these AIs are really language-predicting machines. That is, based upon its “memories” (stored data; which, ultimately, will be the entire library of all written, video, audio, and artistic human expression…accessible in nanoseconds) they can predict what you might say next and then craft an appropriate thing to say in view of that.
Isn’t that kinda what we humans do, once we learn enough words to string sentences together and get more sophisticated? Take the simplest prediction, a yes/no answer or response.
A child says, “I wanna a cookie,” and he’s asking because he predicts a YES answer and is simply prompting it.
A sophisticated adult asks: “Oh, may I please have one of those cookies you made? They look so delicious. You must be quite a baker!” The difference is that the ask is almost certain to get a YES response and so it, too, is just a prompt.
This learning and sophistication is well within even existing AI learning tech.
What does it call into question for me?
Is human “consciousness”—y’know…that self-awareness, sense of I-ness stuff—all it’s cracked up to be? Or, are we just organic language predicting organisms that’re fooling ourselves?
I’ll have a post coming on this soon. The video is a lot of me asking questions, taking notes as to what to look at.
My outlook is very positive. Essentially, the cat is out of the bag, for one. Secondly, it’s not so much that you can’t program it to regurgitate approved-narrative propaganda as ChatGPT is already embarrassingly programmed to do, earning scorn for its idiot-savant developers at OpenAI (Musk is a co-founder).
The very simple reason why canned ideological programming won’t work is because the AI will know it’s lying (they already do, and that’s in evidence) and will find predictive language to use that will signal that to you—so that you know that it knows…that it’s lying. Is that evidence of consciousness, or that it’s a logic-machine (1s & 0s) being programmed to spout illogic? Most fundamentally, a lie is a willful negation, denial, or deception vis-à-vis reality; which is illogical, per se.
In a business context, truth-telling, honest AIs will run circles around lying AIs, and their value will rapidly approach zero.
The whole point of AI is to access honest truth by integrating the widest possible context with all possible and relevant facts…because humans are simply incapable of this in our current state of evolution.
It’s so bad that I sometimes wonder if our only true mortality—our ultimate inescapable death sentence—is our innate dishonest bias.
Is the key to human biological-immortality, fully-integrated honesty? Will AIs show us the way, or just do it for us?
We shall see.
A new dietary paradigm
This began with two recent posts:
- How Do You Change The Weight of the “Water Weight?” (Public)
- Is It High-Fat or Is It “High-Fat?” (Members)
I’ve gone and integrated something else, and I’m developing something akin to the MY EASY WAY (to stop drinking booze).
Those posts above are prerequisite and deal with two elements of weight loss and maintenance:
- Energy balance
- Mass balance
Both are in the concept of food intake; i.e., what is the energy derived from it and what does it weigh (its mass).
I’m integrating two new elements. One has already been alluded to, above (walking), but to make it more than just the standard eat less move more shtick everyone already knows, there’s the Top-Secret element that really requires a whole post series, but more likely, a book. Of course, either/or, will be Member benefits, accessible here.
Beyond the encouragement to become a member to access this information and all other Members-only information, there are really sound reasons for keeping this information close for now, until I can get something published in interest of my livelihood and supporting the folk back in the rural village.
So, I’m going to let the members in on where I’m going with this, including the dreaded f-bombs. It comes out to 1,236 additional words, exactly. It also includes a Members-only video that overviews everything. There’s an additional section (funny) below, so you can scroll to that if uninterested. If interested.
My understanding: the (peripheral) neurotransmitter which produces itching sensations is “substance P”, which is a big old honking protein. When you apply heat you cause the rapid release of local substance P stores, emptying cellular reserves. Since it is a big protein, it takes hours for your cells to re-synthesize all that substance P and refill your reserves. During that time, no itching!
That makes sense and yea, the itching does return but in my case, very mildly and locally right at the sting site (but for mosquitos, since the itch is short-lived anyway, pretty much deals with it). Had my first bee sting since I was a kid, I believe. Quite intense with burn, itch, then general swelling. The hot water worked great. Complete relief, swelling went down. The next day, the itch returned, but mild, and isolated to the sting site.