Category Archives: Silly things

Just morsels of nonsense, really!

Three little words

I am, I must admit, acrimonious about most acronyms, but one in particular inspires my disdain: LOL. To explain my contempt for LOL in a measured manner, I have conducted a little research and gathered the uses (and misuses) to which I have seen it being put, for your digestion:

LOL: as a response to show you acknowledge that what I said was funny.

Fine, as a congratulatory nod that says, “good one!” I can abide it and its fellows, LMAO, LMFAO and ROFL. Even better to make a joke in return, but sometimes it’s nice just to show some appreciation. The thing is, I’m a bit concerned it’s losing its power. Given it’s supposed to be shorthand for “I am laughing out loud right now. Oh my goodness, that was so hilarious that I’m so overcome with mirth that I can only muster three letters,” I often find it to be a somewhat disproportionate response, especially since it’s so often used in reaction to something that was not even or wasn’t intended to be funny.

LOL: To communicate that what YOU are saying is a joke.

In this case, it could be argued that people should work harder at expressing themselves and telling jokes more artfully. Having said that, some forms of humour aren’t as effective when written and, even more crucially, some people just don’t share the same sense of humour and there are times you have to point out that you’re saying something funny. I recently resorted to actually using “LOL” in real life (or IRL, if you prefer – I do not) with a friend who, though dear and kind and intelligent and generous, is quite earnest and often fails to remember that 99% of what I say is nonsense and meant to be taken lightly. So I’ll be all, “Right, all I need is a pet pig and I’m good to go!” and he’ll be like, “But don’t you live in a studio flat? Do they let you have pets in your building?” So I have to say “No, no! LOL, Fred – LOL! It was a joke.” And he’ll look at me like, “Well, it wasn’t funny.” And I’ll be ashamed and remember that sarcasm is no substitute for wit. So, y’know, everyone wins. Once again, let’s all remind ourselves that this acronym stands for “laughing out loud”. So when you write something and want to add a little levity – ask yourself this, is it really worthy of a vociferous cackle?

In the above two instances, may I posit, then, that we substitute “LOL” for something more fitting. We have so much expression at our fingertips. Consider the difference between “HA!”, “heheheeee”, “Ohohoho” and “Mwahahahaa”, just for starters. If you are indeed LOLing, tell us more. Is it a dry bark of wry mirth? A mischievous giggle? A knowing chortle that says, “Oh very droll, I see what you did there.” Or perhaps an evil cackle? Let us LOL for the occasion, I say.

The third, and perhaps most troubling use of LOL that I have seen, though, is:

LOL: to soften something.

This one is tricky. While I can perhaps see the argument for having a quick and easy device to temper tone, to show that something that might otherwise sound bitchy or nasty should be taken in a jolly way… Maaaaybe. But that gets easily exploited. See: “Yeah! Because all Asian people look the same, LOL!” “What? That’s a bit…racist.” “Nah man, I was just being ironic, lighten up, it’s just a joke – LOL.”

This strategy is implemented when the sender is unsure of how something is going to be received. See: “Whoa! What are you doing?” “Sending you a pic of my dick, LOL!” Just add a cheery LOL and no one can be offended; it’s all fun and games and #TopBants.

Nah.

My point in summary, is: let’s all try to be a bit funnier, cleverer and more sensitive. Aka: stop being lazy.

 

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A roachy encounter

– and what I learned about myself from it.

I was feeling particularly smug about life that morning. I’d hopped out of bed with that feeling I sometimes get: the relish of living alone in my little flat and the freedom I have to do whatever I damn well please – like eating Reeses Cups for breakfast – because I’m a grown-ass-woman and I can take care of myself. Smugly smug smug. And that morning I was going to take care of myself via yoga in my PJs.

I like a bit of morning yoga; I open the curtains and go through a couple of sets in the sunshine. I like the feeling when I’m done and I’m a bit sweaty and my muscles have gone all shaky. I feel like I’ve done something good for my body but also nice and balanced and peaceful and, to be honest, even more smug.

So, this particular morning, I open my curtains and a massive winged cockroach flutters out. It stutters, falters and crashes drunkenly down on my bedside table and I SHRIEK and fling myself across the room. A proportionate response, I’m sure you’ll agree. Here I stand – panting – and consider my options.

I’m not sure where it landed exactly; it could be down behind the dresser or it could have fallen amongst the teddies who inhabit its surface. (A rag-tag bunch, they include Claude the French Christmas bear, Margery the floppy dog who insists on wearing broken aviator shades, and Space Bunny.) I’m scared that if I go over to investigate, it’ll fly out from among them into my face.

In order to ascertain its roachy whereabouts, I decide to send in an advance guard. Lionel, a beany-bottomed lion, is perpetually grumpy and this will do nothing to lift his mood, but there’s nothing for it. I hurl him into the midst of his furry colleagues. No movement. Not a flutter. And suddenly I am very aware of myself, throwing teddies across the room, because I’m scared of a bug.

cockroach-joe

I gird my loins and approach with caution. On closer inspection, the roach is indeed crouching behind the dresser and it occurs to me that even if I get him out in the open, I need an exit strategy. I open my window and aim the fan at it, wondering if he will get caught in the slipstream and just be wafted out.

That’s IT! I’ll just leave everything like this, go to work, and he’ll make his own way out.

Wait, no. What if I get home and he’s not there, I won’t know if he’s gone or merely lurking somewhere else, like my pillow case. No. I must deal with this now, like an adult. I get the broom.

After a rescue mission in which my fluffy friends are gingerly airlifted to the relative safety of the bed (Lionel eyes me with even deeper disdain), I hover uncertainly, with a broom handle pointing down behind the dresser. Nope, I can’t do it. My aim is terrible and I anticipate the scuttling. Shudder. ‘Aha!’ thinks I, ‘Bug spray!’ I grab the massive can under the sink, shake it thoroughly, aim it down the back of the dresser and let him have it. Scuttle scuttle scuttle! Unngghhhhhh.

So now I’m chasing him; he isn’t flying, thank fuck – he’s definitely already pretty busted, but fuck me, the fucker can scuttle. The spray is puttering but I keep it trained on him doggedly, round the bed, across the floor and almost to the rug where he gives up and collapses, legs in the air, twitching. I scoop him up with a post card, dump him out the window and slam it shut. And now I too collapse in a sweaty, shaky heap. The irony is not lost on me that the very yogic effect I enjoy so much was this morning achieved by something so un-zen as killing a fellow living creature. With poison – the weapon, as they say, of women.

As it turn out then, I am a grown woman, who lives alone and takes care of business; I can take care of myself and my home… by offing, in the most cowardly fashion, a tiny, injured creature that had infinitely more cause to be afraid of me, given he was entirely less well armed.

I am not so smug anymore.

Wonderfruit festival: outlandish outfits and budding romance

I spent the last weekend of 2014 in a field in Chon Buri with ALL of Bangkok’s hipsters, a lot of whisky and some yummy food. Noteworthy appearances were made by, y’know, Little Dragon, De La Soul… no big deal.

de la soul live in thailand

For about 72 hours, those present willfully flung normal behaviour out of the window and pranced, cavorted and caroused, dressed like this:

festival fashion at wonderfruit

I feel it’s safe to assume that such conditions probably sparked a few romantic moments. And, I imagine that if Wonderfruit had a daily newspaper, the ‘missed connections’ section would read something like this:

‘You were dressed as a Pokemon, I had the Indian headdress, our eyes met across the drum circle. My heart pounded louder than the congas. I looked for you at the wood-bending workshop the next day… Let’s whittle something together sometime.’

‘To the guy in the velvet fez I snogged in the Green Quarry on Friday night: I overheard you in line at Kuppadeli in the morning, ordering soy latte and complaining about all the ways Burning Man is way superior. Lose my number.’

‘You appeared like a sprite in the middle of Woodkid’s set, covered my face with glitter and whirled away. I’ve never seen a man wear sparkly leggings with such panache before, take me shopping?’

‘To the guy in the neon green boxers  who made it all the way to the end of the Greasy Pole and gracefully swan dived headfirst into the lake – I hope the bleeding stopped eventually.’

‘Cute folk-dancing girl from the vineyard – you can stomp my grapes any day.’

‘Hey, hot blonde from the beach bar, I like the way you hula.’

‘Hey stilts-guy, you look like you could use some head.’  …(ZING!)

wodnerfruit festival in thailand

Romance in a field, among loonies

Meanwhile, back at Wonderfruit HQ, I imagine the ‘lost and found’ notice reads something like this:

lost items at music festival

 

It really was an unforgettable weekend, well done Wonderfruit. And you, did you go? Did you dress up? Find love? Steal an air conditioner?

Big thanks to Christian Hogue for the use of these gorgeous photos. Check out more of his stuff at: farfromthemaddeningcrowd.com

A Yule Tale

– Gather ye round for a heartwarming festive story

Say what you like about Bangkok’s execution of Christmas (and I have), what it lacks in polish, it makes up for in effort. I happen to think that any predominantly Buddhist country that gets tinseled up and fairy-lit in the name of blatant and shameless commercialism spreading festive cheer deserves our appreciation.

It was in this spirit that I attended the Hilton Sukhumvit’s tree lighting evening and sure enough, they had gone for it gamely, with all the trimmings – all of them, indiscriminate about trimming use, they were. A brightly lit display of all the traditional Christmas items welcomed guests and warmed hearts.

Christmas display at Hilton bangkok

It’s just not Christmas without Limoncello and monogrammed handbags

We admired the unconscionably long chocolate log over steaming glasses of gluhwein (hot wine… in the tropics… cuz nothing says Christmas like sweating your Santa hat off).

Better crank up the air con, the wine's a-mulling

Better crank up the air con, the wine’s a-mulling

But the real magic was yet to begin. From nowhere, a shambles of adorable cherubs, attached to various stringed instruments, traipsed messily to the stage area, only to be hurriedly shooed away by their formidable ensemble mistress. Interest piqued, I found a spot with a good view and lo, a mini Christmas novella unraveled before my eyes.

The prettiest young lady remained seated, neatly arranging her skirts about her cello, demurely receiving the ardent attentions of the young chaps either side of her, one a gangly, awkward fellow cellist and the other casually wielding an acoustic guitar. Ahhhh me, sighed I, ruefully remembering the flutters of those early high school flirtations, oh and the complexities of the social hierarchies – how fascinating.

chirstmas choir bangkok

Cella-bella handles the love triangle masterfully

No time to linger, though.

pushy-choir-mum

Clap clap, Pushy Choir Mum had the stage to herself, having cleared the musical youths and, revelling in her moment in the spotlight, bade us attend the sweeping stairwell. A moment of hush, the sigh of a violin, and down they came, a harmonious troop of bobble hatted youngsters, shyly sawing and strumming at their instruments.

christmas kids music

As the Bangkok Von-Trapps played sweetly, PCM directing them with aplomb, I couldn’t help but notice, not every member of the ensemble shared her enthusiasm…

little violinist

Mini Taylor Swift is OVER it

The song finished to beguiled applause. The musicians relaxed a moment; swaggering guitar-player turned to joke with neighbouring cheeky-chappy violin dude, and I caught a glimpse of his face.

WHAT?!

buddy the elf

This guy is way older than these kids! Princess Cello remains remarkably poised considering she is sitting next to Buddy the Elf.

Luckily the day was saved. From back-row obscurity stepped a slip of a thing, clattering a little in her mum’s shoes. Handling the mic awkwardly, she lifted her little chin and sang ‘Happy Birthday Jesus’ in a high, pure soprano.

This picture is fuzzy to recreate the misty eyes she elicited

This picture is fuzzy to recreate the misty eyes she elicited

An audible sigh rippled round the room. Having stepped out to have a word with a colleague, Buddy the Guitar Elf and his (much more age appropriate companion) fell silent and watched in wonder.

Grown up elf love

Grown up elf love

…leaving adorkable cello fellow free to make his move and woo the princess.

cello love

An egg-nog after the show?

A happy ending, a Christmas miracle. My cockles have never been more toasty. Even mini Taylor Swift cracked a smile.

merry christmas

Merry Christmas every one!

 

For more of my thoughts on Christmas in Bangkok, click here.

For another uplifting little story, try this one.

Nyooooooo Shoooooozzz

– and the very visceral response they inspired.

Perhaps it’s just me. But I suspect not. Do you ever re-purpose songs to match what you’re doing?

For example, I never seen this…

lock the taskbar

The shareef don’t like it

…without humming The Clash.

And whenever we go here:

maggie choos bangkok

I sing (in my head… usually), ‘Maggie, Maggie Choooooooos’ to the tune of Boney M’s classic, Daddy Cool.

And the moment that I spied these molten beauties winking naughtily at me was no exception.

gold ked-style plimsolls

No sooner had they seduced me into procuring them, weaseled their magical way onto my wiggly feets, that the ol’ cranial orchestra struck up a jaunty ditty to mark the occasion.

The song in question, was (for reasons fairly obvious) New Shoes by Paolo Nutini. It goes like this:

And I,  indeed,  went like this:

happy feet in new shoes

Hey, I put some new shoes on, and suddenly everything is right,

moves in my shoes from Zalora brand Ezra

I said, hey, I put some new shoes on and everybody’s smiling, it’s so inviting,

back slide like a pro

Oh, short on money, but long on time,
Slowly strolling in the sweet sunshine,

no excuse new shoes

I’m running late and I don’t need an excuse, coz I’m wearing my brand new shoes

Disclaimers:

– Buying new shoes may not be a clinically approved cure for depression.

– Your friends may not consider your recently purchased footwear an adequate excuse for tardiness.

Additionally, on closer inspection, Paolo’s little tune, while indisputably catchy, seems to be about some crafty moccasins that have some sort of adverse effect on the wearer wherein he develops short term amnesia, coming to only to discover his friends have been enjoying a frenzied, debauched bender in his house during his unconscious episode. Say no to clog-drugs, kids.

Unlike some fashion snobs, I have no compunction about sharing whence come these little masterpieces du pied. The sneakily gorgeous sneakers featured above came from online fever (perhaps related to the fever that knocked out dear Paolo)  – a rather nifty new Thai brand (buy local, guyzz).

And on the subject of sharing, if you enjoy the sort of silly scribbling in evidence above, you may be interested to know know i have started a new tumblr dedicated to my ridiculous little visual jokes.

Disclaimer part deux: if you do not enjoy crudely scrawled cartoons rendered solely for the sake of a laboured pun,  definitely don’ t click here: punbletumble.tumblr.com

A Tale of 4am Facebook Fortune

– in which Nicky loses her phone and puts the city on the case.

I will briefly set the scene and then just allow this marvelous story to unravel before your eyes via a series of (lightly annotated but mostly self explanatory) screen shots.

Twas a sparkly Friday night in Bangkok, we were frisky with mischief, the city was humming, something was coming.  A rag-tag, merry band of misfits made plans. They involved the opening of The Great Kabab Factory and a Bacardi party. It was to be a night of ‘Bakabs and Kabardi’ …and much else besides.

We quaffed bubbly and munched delicious paneer and lamb off skewers. We piled into taxis and screamed across the Chao Phaya. We drank rum, hot and infused with herbs, aflame and in vases. We danced, we sat under the trees on the concrete; our numbers swelled. We madly dashed through the supermarket, hunting and gathering supplies. We sloppily and hungrily ate crackers and plastic cheese washed down with still more rum on an 8th floor terrace; a couch was broken.

It was 3am and I decided to take myself home. In the street I realised I had left my phone on the broken couch, staggered back upstairs and recovered it. The taxi dropped me home and in the lift up to my flat I rootled through my bag for my keys, vaguely noticing it was full of a lot of ridiculous items among which my phone was once again conspicuous by its absence. Crashing into my flat and plonking down onto the loo for a nice pee, I emptied the contents onto the bathroom floor (the contents of my bag, that is). The sensation of simultaneously relieving oneself and being overcome with utter dismay is quite discombobulating. I was, all at once, pissed, pissing and pissed off.

whats-in-my-bag

I kicked aside the trappings of my evening and lurched for my laptop to hammer out a frenzied Facebook status, tagging everyone I could think of, in the desperate hope that the universe might smile upon me.

And this is what happened:

Facebook help plea

Gaia is straight on the case (I madly tag more humans who are probably asleep):

2-go-team

Miraculously, other people are awake and join the hunt:

help is at hand

how to find a lost iphone

And THEN:

the driver answers

6-super-driver

Twenty minutes later:

iphone is returned

In the subsequent hours, humans around the world react to this emotional roller-coaster:

beautiful story

Six hours late, Pan Pan wants to help (bless him)…

delayed response

And for the next 12 hours, people enjoy this heart warming tale:

great stories

A few closing remarks, if I may:

Hooray for technology: Facebook saved me and I now have installed Find My iPhone.

But even more – hooray for wonderful, generous, helpful humans. Special mention should be made that Gaia and Alisa had been with me all night and I think we can all agree they showed incredible mental and organisational fortitude despite being QUITE as tiddled as I was. You should also know that Alisa had to get up four hours after this escapade to sell her amazing soap all day at the Farmers’ Market – the woman is a machine.

I sincerely hope that singular taxi driver, that Cabbie among cabbies, will be blessed with brilliant, wonderful karma. If this story is anything to go by, I feel quite certain he will; social media is certainly powerful, but this city…. this city is magic.

 

 

10 things you’ll never hear in Bangkok

1. ‘Nah, I’m just gonna go ahead and eat this dessert, I cant be bothered to Instagram it.’

2. ‘It’s only round the corner, shall we just walk?’

nobody walks in bkk

3. ‘Tuk tuks really are the best and cheapest way to get around town.’

4. ‘Party in Punnawithi? Let’s go!’

gurl, you crazy

5. ‘Yep, it’s essential to learn the language, you simply can’t get by without it.’

6. ‘Nah, I’m not really sure about my political leanings, shall we ask this taxi driver his opinion?’

that's a bad idea

(seriously, don’t!)

7. ‘You know what this town needs? More malls.’

8. ‘I know, darling – let’s treat ourselves to a nice little staycation on Khao San Road this weekend!’

true love in bangkok

Nothing says romance like hotels by the hour

9. ‘Actually, I’m over the whole brunch thing. Fuck eggs benedict.’

10. ‘Brrrr. Bit nippy today, isn’t it?’

bangkok heat

Melting… for real.

This post was inspired by ’62 things you’ll never hear a Londoner say’.  As you can see,  mine is much shorter, sooooooo – more suggestions please!