this week i

rolled down the malaysian peninsula.

recognize their flag.

climbed the observation tower.

made friends with the world's most heroic window-washers.  those hard hats won't help, fellas.

hiked through kuala lumpur's downtown plot of jungle, the malay equivalent of central park.

got up close and personal with the former world's tallest building recordholder.

love the anti-smoking propaganda on the packs..

..and other conspicuous places, like the 'oh shit' handles on public transit.  kudos, ministry of health.

find it unfortunate that while we were winning the smoking cessation battle in the united states, cigarette manufacturers went on a sales binge in the developing world.  time to tax these multinational companies to death before young developing-world populations age enough to suffer the health consequences.

went to the zoo.


know they're nocturnal, but this one seemed dead.

saw my favorite in the small mammal category.  they still poop everywhere and stink up the joint, but if the gun to my head demanded i own a rodent, here's the winner.

guess they have a thing for albinos..


american bullfrogs

red ear slider turtles

pigtailed macaques


and reticulated pythons.

am curious how snakes became snakes.  in other words, how does evolution create a 'strangle' behavior?

did my best britney impersonation.

walked past the mosques..

..through chinatown..

..to the museum district..

..for some colonial history lessons..

..dragon art..

..dragon cannon art.  humbles all other cannons, huh?

..and islamic architecture.
don't fully understand my attraction to islamic art and architecture, can't get over how viscerally, mathematically beautiful this stuff can be.






headed to the bus station..

..for the straits of malacca..

..and the adjacent malacca river..

..a city worth defending.

for chinese-malay cuisine..

..in the tropical red rain.

ate the strangest things..
aloe puff pastries with egg yolk

unsweetened jelly beans on the bottom of shave ice..

..topped with nuts and chocolate syrup, of course.

crossed chinese-influenced malaysia..

..into chinese-dominated singapore..

..where i paid 4x more than anywhere else for 1/4th the hotel room.  made up for it by helping myself to the delicious, non-deadly, complimentary tap water.

caught up with my old friend leo, who i haven't seen in a decade.  the son of diplomats, we went to high school together..

..but he missed the food too much not to move back.

had heard about the police-state thing..

..less about the wildlife you'll be sharing the pavement with..

the four languages (mandarin, malay, tamil) on every emergency sign

rollercoaster-style misters

family photos

foreigner fast food
video

fashion forever

right down to the firehouses

floating football fields

..and a nutty mermaid lion, possible grounds for divorce right there.

flew home.

am perpetually amazed by how slow the time goes when you do something else.

realized that about one hundred billion humans have existed since the dawn of time, and likely not one of us has ever known why.  we can build megacities, populate the earth, travel to our moon, yet if we devoted all of our energy to keeping just one person alive to their one hundred thirtieth birthday, we would fail.

wondered about the optimal ratio of teachers to doers in a healthy society, where 'teachers' includes most folks in the educational establishment while 'doers' is most everyone else but also researchers and tinkerers at the higher levels of academia who are furthering our knowledge rather than passing along the established curricula.  without teachers, the next generation flounders; without doers, the society doesn't advance.  would be nice to see that ratio for different nations, for both present and past.

finished kurt vonnegut's posthumously-published collection of short stories, armageddon in retrospect.

the very best thing you can be in life is a teacher, provided that you are crazy in love with what you teach and your classes consist of eighteen students or fewer.  classes of eighteen students or fewer are a family, and feel and act like one.

the second world war, the last one we ever won

one nice thing about being half-starved..is that it's hard to worry about anything but being half-starved.

we were only supposed to live for thirty-five years or so, because that's how long our teeth lasted without modern dentistry

my advice to writers just starting out?  don't use semicolons!  they are transvestite hermaphrodites, representing exactly nothing.  all they do is suggest you might have gone to college.

what is my definition of jazz?  safe sex of the highest order.

'i been fixing thorn trees over a hole,' he said eagerly, 'so when the unicorn falls in, the thorn trees fall on top of him.'
'that should hold him.,' said elmer tenderly.  'it isn't many families in england that can look forward to a unicorn dinner.'

death is just one more night.

1/13/11