Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Brovic - Blogging since 1903

KHUK KHAK, Thailand - Writing, not unlike a yoga routine, a mathematical puzzle, or laying a patio block walkway, in that it is an exercise, and often, as you may have long ago noticed, it appears I have little of consequence to impart, other than to say hello, and am only exercising whatchacall this craft. It's like you and what you do, except maybe you're more serious.

Maybe not. I hope not. After a very long time of serious, listening to Manny, I tried not so serious here for a decade or so, a much less stressful avenue I must say, and much lighter, insofar as loads go. People always say when returning home from here how serious everybody is. Nobody smiles.

'Blogging since 1903'. Silly. Sure. But, who else is making that claim? Better jump on it while the field is wide open, right? Like the 335th Tactical Aviation Squadron, 'Who else is making these planes? Noooobody. I'm on the front edge of that wave, My Friends, if it ever catches on.

It's what everybody says when I ask, 'You know anybody else makinese?' 'Huh uh,' they say, usually shaking their heads slowly while their eyes scan the home squadron, anywhere from ten to eighteen tri-plane aircraft in teams of two-plane mobiles. Everybody's got a wing man. I mind read. They're saying, 'You're fucking crazy............these are pretty cool......I could make this shit.'

Out loud, they say, "I could make these."

Ok. You say crazy. Ok. Well, we've got 96 pilots. Ninety-six. Grrranted, some are quite young, but some are quite old, too, by USAF standards. Top Gun is 61. You're wondering, right? That would be Ted.

Sure. Nobody going to argue with that.

If you know Ted, you hear he's Top Gun of the Slim Buttes 335th Tactical Aviation Squadron, without hesitation you're gonna say, 'Right...Right.'

Ted is one of the few people who would accompany me on a trek into Northeastern Laos, across the Plain of Jars. 'That's my old stompin' grounds,' he said. But right now wouldn't be a good time for him to go, because of reasons.

He told a tale in the men's spillover tipi at sun dance of falling asleep atop a crate of food and ammo in the back of a cargo plane, and next thing he knew he was riding the package down under a parachute and had to hoof it two weeks in hostile boonies back to camp.

"I didn't care about food," he said. "I was just hoping on the way down that there was ammo on the load."

Yeah, he's got the 'behind enemy lines' stories out the wazoo. He's also the only one routinely flying combat missions and filing regular status and operations reports, thus his promotion to Captain and designation as Top Gun. How 'bout you, Chuckie? When's the last time you flew a combat mission? You gotta do more than just clock in, clock out.


'...and if those degrees don't work out for ya, you can always fall back on shower caddies.'

Business is slow for BOMERS, (Brovic's Outpatient Medical Emergency Roadside Svc.) with two more happenstance clients last week, but like fish, they're out there, you just have to be patient. But who has time to be cruising up and down the highway all day? a vulture trolling for roadkill.

So that's not working out full-time. It's a pot shot kind of a thing. How 'bout you? Is that working out for you, what you're doing?

Incidentally, don't know if I already told you, and you can call it superstition or whatever, but over the past six years I've had about fifty road patients. None of them were wearing buddhas.
Never leave home on a motorbike without it.

Hey, I have been thinking about firing up the shower caddies again. I got the coconuts, right here. I got your copper wire, right over there. I got a dreel, and needle nose pliers, and buddy, that's all you need. I can give you part-time work, show you how it's done. Day labor, hourly, it's your call. The beach is just down the road.

My Myanmar friend, a logger I think, younger and much blacker than me, in a hovel just around the corner between here and the temple, showed me today where he just about took his finger off last month with an angle grinder and a diamond cutting blade, screwing around trying to cut the top off a coconut.

To the bone. We sit and drink his instant coffee with hot water scooped from an electric pot, and basically communicate with smiles and sign language, 'cause he don't speak no English, and I always get lost trying to talk their lingo in depth.

Besides logging and hand-cutting board lumber with a huge, ancient Stihl, he shreds coconut pulp with one of those spiked spinning machines, and is an artist, dicking around making stuff from coconuts and cool pieces of wood he's found. People around here (Asia) like that kind of stuff...driftwood and hanging plants and Orchids everywhere and people plant crazy. It's kind of cool. The gardens never die.

Although we haven't much to say other than good morning how are you, I'm on smiling and waving terms with the neighbors except those at the T in the bad chi house, getting slammed by all the anxious taxi energy of the road from the beach.

I've attempted to reduce that influence by a wall of bananas, a really nice coconut tree, two slender beetle nut trees and a cluster of long plants. They never die. You've got to cut stuff back.

You've got to cut stuff back, and you've got to find stuff to do. Creative stuff. But you do have to be careful with the grinders. The slightest cut, and I mean the slightest, requires immediate and constant attention. Any opening on the skin is a matter of deep concern. Karl's dad spent two months in a hospital in Germany after scraping his arm in a motorbike accident.

My friend Carl spend two weeks in a Phuket hospital trying to grab a hold of an infection that set in, in the wake of a motorbike accident. Bill had a hangnail! Got infected.

Gotta watch it. This place is JUST DRIPPIN' with parasitic vampire no-name bugs floating around looking for some unsuspecting farang from the northern hemisphere here on holiday to open up their epidermis as a host.

Don't believe me? Check it out. Look out the front. That's jungle across the street. Look out the side. Solid jungle, cep where I've carved it back to make what they call a garden and what I call a yard. Out back...'Gee ya! Lookit the siza that, wouldya?'


First night they were here, Digger's wife Taylor, had dreams of something coming up out of that shower floor drain, so next day we went down to the hardware store, early, like, on a priority mission, to get a drain cover.

So, yeah, there's snakes, too. It's good to have dogs and cats around.


About two or three times a week, or sometimes, a day, I go down to the hardware store, where those guys have sold me most of the stuff in my house, and where a mangy old ugly brown dog with stiff legs is usually laying in the driveway.

Often, I'll point to him, and ask, 'No work?'

They'll respond, 'No. Sa-leep. Him hab hang (hangover). Zantika (night club) last night. Him hab lay-dee...danCING.'

In truth, after six o'clock lock up, he's working night shift security at the hardware store, the 'grave yard' shift, 6 p.m. until 8 a.m., long tough hours for anybody.

- end