Monthly Archives: October 2006

Rambo in Thailand — Update

New Mandala:

It was only a matter of time before more stories about the planned filming of Rambo IV: In The Serpent’s Eye started seeping out. This action flick is slated to be “shot” in a Thai national park in the far north over the coming dry season. The global media just gorges on this kind of story and, well, why not?

According to a Sydney Morning Herald report headlined “No violence please, we’re Thais“, director of the Thailand Film Office, Wanasiri Morakul, has said:

We have warned them that any violence has to be reasonable because we care about young people.

In another report, this time by the Associated Press via WTOP, Wanasiri continues:

Some scenes might be a little bit violent, so we asked them not to make it too violent because if we say that the ethnic minorities are violent, it might be inappropriate.

According to the reports, in this fourth installment of the Rambo franchise the title character has retired to Bangkok. Rather than haunting the bars, or running a gem racket, Rambo is, according to the plot leaks, working as a military boat repairer in the “City of Angels”. I guess they needed some reasonable justification for putting him in Thailand. In so many ways, though, being a boat repairer is pretty far-fetched. Why couldn’t they play it safe? Couldn’t they make him a sports instructor at ISB? An English teacher at ECC? Or a restaurant owner down Sukhumwit way? Those are the sorts of things that the average retired American soldier ends up doing in Thailand.

But I digress, Rambo isn’t average. It shouldn’t need repeating – we all accept that realism isn’t the strong point of this remarkable cinematic franchise.

(Emphasis mine.)

Related: Rambo: Coming to Bangkok (and Burma)

Dinner with Claire and Frans


Last night A and I had the pleasure of meeting up with Claire and Frans [their Flickr site; Frans’s site], my good friends since college. They’re in Bangkok for a few days on their way to Bhutan. (Yes, I am utterly roiling with jealousy that they’re going there).

We ate at Baan Khanitha; if you ask me, the highlight of our meal was the yam som o — spicy pomelo salad with shrimp and chicken. Our other dishes — a yellow chicken curry, a steamed whole fish, and more — were also tasty. For dessert, the mango with sticky rice, while perhaps not as sublime as my favorite khao niaow ma muang joint on soi Thong Lor, was also quite succulent.

Safe travels, Claire and Frans, and thanks for paying ole uncle Newley a visit in Krungthep.

Three Korea Stories of Note

Sunset Over Seoul

Two of my pals have recently published excellent stories about Korea. Rolf Potts has got two articles on Slate — one’s about the Busan International Film Festival and an upcoming action comedy film called “Expats,” and the other’s about returning to the city after having spent two years teaching English there in the late 90s.

Elsewhere, Busan resident Aaron Tassano’s got a great article about the PIFF over at Trip Master Monkey. (Lil’ Kim? Lil’ Kim!)

(The image above is from my trip to Seoul to visit my brother last January.)

(Rolf Potts stories via.)

Mae Hong Son Trip

Mae Hong Son

A and I just returned to Bangkok after five excellent days in the north of Thailand. We spent most of our time in leafy Mae Hong Son, a picturesque town near the Myanmar border.

We were inspired to visit MHS by our pal Austin, who’s a big fan of the region, and I can only say that I’m delighted to have seen it; Mae Hong Son is now certainly my favorite part of northern Thailand.

Here’s the full photoset of 67 images.

Below are some of my faves along with some notes:

Our Mean Machine

On the Motosai

Consulting the Map (Though We Were Never Lost. Not Once. Seriously. A Navigated, not me.)

— We rented a motorbike and explored the area around Mae Hong Son. Fantastic. Our metallic steed was no Minsk; nor was it the beloved GTO. And frankly, we could’ve used some two-stroke torque for the hills and twisties. Rather, we piloted a somewhat anemic but nonetheless serviceable 125 cc, four-stroke, four-speed Honda Dream step-through.

A in the Mineral Pool

Wats, Valley, Rice Paddies, Palm Trees

Overlooking Mae Hong Son


Flag, Temple Spire


— The scenery was incredible.

Som Tam. Som Tam. Som Tam. God How I Love Thee...

Khao Soi

BBQ Chicken

Spring Rolls!

— We consumed some transcendent vittles.

Fern Resort. Our Bungalow was Three of Four Down

A on Our Bungalow's Balcony

Friendly Dog. Begging for Scraps Very Nonchalantly

— We stayed at the excellent Fern Resort; our tidy bungalow had a balcony overlooking a stream.

Suvarnabhumi, Bangkok's New (and Blinged Out) Airport

Suvarnabhumi Domestic Arrivals Terminal

— And, finally, since we flew to Mae Hong Son from Bangkok via Chiang Mai, I got a chance to check out, for the first time, BKK’s brand-new airport, Suvarnabhumi (pronounced “Su-wanna-poom”). Its main terminal is blinged out in blue neon lights and ultra-modern, glistening steel. Sweet.

10 Tips for New Mac Users

A buddy of mine recently bought a new Mac and asked me for some tips in getting started. As a passionate — though hopefully not obnoxious and only slightly dorky — Apple fan, I offered him much of the following common sense-centric advice. I’ve added a few items to the list I gave him and thought this might be helpful to others.

1. First things first: Purchase and register AppleCare. If you don’t want to spring for it, then at least be sure to register your machine for the standard warranty. Better safe than sorry and all that.

2. Read the user manual — obviously, OS X is easy to use, but it helps to read the book. Duh. The operating system contains some very useful features that might not be apparent.

3. Import your images into iPhoto — it’s super easy to use and very cool. Simply plug your camera’s memory card into your machine’s USB slot and iPhoto will open automatically and prompt you to import your pics. And it goes without saying that you should make the most of iTunes for your music.

4. Use iCal for scheduling. It’s extremely simple — a more elegant version of Outlook’s calendaring feature. Don’t forget that in iCal, you can import and subscribe to public calendars. With one click, I added all of the American and Thai public holidays, for instance.

5. Spotlight is perhaps OS X’s most powerful feature. Just click on that magnifying glass in the upper right corner of the screen to find stuff with Google-esque efficiency. Way faster than navigating through folders using the Finder.

6. Set up Google Notifier for Mac. You do have Gmail, right? Well, what’re you waiting for? Okay then. Get the notifier so you can be alerted when you get new email. Works great.

7. Buy an external hard drive (80 gig or so at least — bigger if you’re into downloading massive amounts of tunes or video.) An external drive, naturally, will allow you to back up all the stuff on your hard drive. It’s rare, but hard drives do fail, and as you begin storing more and more valuable stuff on your machine — documents, photos, music — over time, you’ll want to have a backup copy just in case. Lacie is a good brand.

8. Take advantage of Expose, a feature that allows you to access open windows quickly. For example, you can move your cursor to any corner of the screen and all open widows will displayed at once. Similarly, hitting F11 can be used to hide all of your open windows and display the desktop.

9. On the Job is an excellent Mac-only time tracking application. It’s free to try and $24.95 to purchase

10. And, finally, tinker! Don’t be afraid to poke around and open folders and try out utilities and play around with stuff. Hitting the wrong button will not cause your computer to explode.

Related articles elsewhere:

10 Things Every New Mac Owner Should Know

“10 tips for new Mac users, switching from Windows…”

Basic Tips for New Mac Users

Truth in Labeling — and Being Big Outside America

Truth in Labeling

The tag says it all:


I bought this pair of shorts here in Bangkok recently. If you’re a large person like me and you’ve ever tried to buy clothing in Asia, you’ll appreciate the fact that Adidas has seen fit to label these bad boys honestly. An XL in Asia is perhaps an M in America.

Related photos of me being large and in charge in the far east and elsewhere outside of North America:

With Some Folks Who Approached me in Jakarta
Looking silly in Jakarta.

At Gin-Long's Restaurant
With Mammoth and Dong and the Gin Long Crew in Kaohsiung, Taiwan (somewhat embarrasingly, I’m wearing the same tee in this pic — but hey, I was on a long trip).

Me and a Small Opel
Next to a microscopic Opel in Ireland circa 2002.

Standing next to a chair in the north of Vietnam

With a food vendor atop the Nariz del Diablo train
With a food vendor in central Ecuador

With some girls in Quito
And with a gaggle of girls in Quito.