Category Archives: Humorous

Apartment Shelving Evolution

I am now living in Siem Reap, Cambodia!  This is the eleventh country I have lived in (countries visited).  This is also the 25th city I have lived in!  One of the first things I do when I get to a new place is get shelving to multiply counter space.  This can be done very cheaply with plastic shelving and makes life a lot more convenient.  I would also say always get a furnished apartment because you never know with a new country.  Even furnished apartments rarely come with much in the way of shelving.  Below is a photographic essay of the mundane subject of apartment shelving evolution!  The four-shelf monstrosity below ended up in the kitchen first, then next to the TV and finally ended up being shelving for my electronics!  I used three kits to make the shelving below because the store next to me (new Angkor Market on highway 6) only had three kits in blue!  The kits were designed to make three, three shelf units.  Blue is your safest color for plastic stuff period.  The most common color for plastic houseware is blue.

Below is my electronics corner minus the four-shelf monstrosity!  The maids can’t clean the area easily.  The table doubles as my dining room table so the area really should be cleaned.  I use two giant brown plastic trays to keep the eating area and laptop area separate and avoid a spillage catastrophe.  Ideally, I should be eating on one table and doing computer stuff on another table but I don’t live in an ideal world.  I am willing to invest in plastic shelving since its cheap and the benefits are immediate.  Plastic shelving can be taken apart and moved from one city to another city in the same country in the trunk of a taxi.  If I leave the country then I give the shelving to the maids and they deserve a present!  Investing in real furniture comes much later.  Buying things like tables means I am more or less committed to staying in the country for a year or more.  So far, I am having fun in Siem Reap but my track record for staying put in one place is not very good!  My family calls me “el piedra rodante“!

The four-shelf monstrosity finds a final home as an organizer for all my electronics. 

Not very aesthetic but the set up does get the cables of the floor. 

I get a blue plastic hook set and I now have a place to put my headphones! 

The kitchen counter has zero extra counter space.  There are only plugs behind the microwave and the cords are not long enough for the cooking equipment to be moved. 

I am using valuable counter space to just store dishes and sundries!  The living room is in good shape.  Now I need to fix up the kitchen. 

This is where the four-shelf monstrosity was born.  The monstrosity was then moved to the TV area and then ended up being my tower of electronics. 

I find some smaller shelving that better fits the space I am working with in the kitchen.   I don’t want the shelving to use up all the counter space which I will use to do cooking.  The four-shelf monstrosity is banished to the TV area and then become the electronics tower.  The dishware bought is based on almost 20 years of living in Asia.  I use the big pot to make all sorts of stews.  Asia sells vegetables in packets!  You do have a choice of more than one packet.  I buy a vegetable packet.  I buy a meat which is generally chicken since chicken is relatively cheap in Asia.  Gizzards are not cheap like in the US but sometimes the fox has to have his gizzards.  First meat, then the veggies and finally I add my curry ramen noodles!  I buy dishware in sets of four which means I can put off doing dishes a day or two.  I guess I could entertain four people but that never happens.  In Asia you eat out when socializing!  Last but not least, I get mostly hard, plastic Chinese style dishware because that stuff is indestructible and cheap!  I don’t mess with the Western dishware in Asia because its more money and not as durable.  The vast majority of Chinese dishware is white.  I stick with white and minimal decoration so the dishware more or less matches. Light blue and white are not the worst color combination.

I can squeeze in one last narrow shelf for my basic food stuff and still have a little countertop for cooking.  Basic food for me is curry ramen noodles, and some cans of black beans and tuna.  With these three ingredients I can make ramen and tuna, ramen and black beans. and if I am really hungry, ramen and tuna and black beans.  I am just about always really hungry.  Cooking your own ramen doesn’t make a lot of sense in Cambodia economically.  Prepared food is actually cheaper than buying food at the supermarket and cooking it yourself in Cambodia.  This is unique to Cambodia.  Why?  I am not sure!  One theory that I have is that AC drives the prices of supermarkets.  Electricity is 1.5 times higher than in neighboring countries such as Thailand despite the fact just about everything else is cheaper than Thailand.  Maybe because the night markets don’t have AC and other overhead, the night markets can charge lower prices for meat and vegetables.  However, the traditional markets are absolutely not barang friendly.  Barang is farang in Khmer.   Farang is Thai for Westerner.  The supermarkets have a disproportionate amount of barang customers and maybe that is the real reasons prices are so high at supermarkets compared to traditional markets.  Barang are just willing to pay more money for convenience.  I know that I am.  Plus, the price of labor is so low in Cambodia that the cost of having the food prepared is minimal compared to other countries.  However, sometimes I don’t feel like eating at a noodle stand with a bunch of Cambodians that generally have zero English so I can’t talk with them.  Sometimes I want to eat my noodles watching TV and/or playing on the computer.  Also, my tuna, black beans and curry ramen is a food I have been eating for decades and something familiar in a strange land.  Two beer mugs and two coffee mugs at the bottom.  Cupware is breakable, small and used more often than any other kitchen utensils.  Therefore, the cupware deserves its own separate place in the narrower shelf area.

I used two kits to make the narrow three-shelf unit above.  The kits were for two-shelf units.  The leftover shelf ended up being a basket of sorts which I did use to store bananas atop of my refrigerator!  The small legs of the leftover shelf are very handy.  If the bananas touch the fridge through the mesh of a basket then the banana can rot and leave a mess.  I can clean the shelf a lot easier than the fridge surface.  Bananas are cheap in Cambodia.  I am trying to make bananas my new snack food.  So far, I have failed miserably in this endeavor!

The dish washing tray has been moved to the top of the microwave.  I am a big fan of a simple BIG dishwashing tray!  I debated putting the hot plate there and the dish washing tray where the hot plate was but grease spatter is more easily cleaned from a marble counter than a microwave surface. 

Once every two or three months, I take all the plastic shelving and even the dishwashing tray and clean the whole mess in the bathroom shower area!  If you have a bath tub then let everything soak for a few hours.  If you have a balcony then get a giant plastic tub and clean everything there.  Bugs are a big problem in tropical places like Thailand, where I lived for 8.5 years and a total clean is needed now and then.  Do move the furniture and get behind the counters and clean that area as well.  Cambodia is identical to Thailand in terms of climate.

Apartment photos

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Orange Werefox at Bangkok Comic Con 2016

 

Find out about the powers and history of the werefoxes today!

Other Werefox Stories

https://photos.app.goo.gl/iUBQXWKY36fwLhoE7

 

 

Chinese Dream and American Reality

Hugh Fox Chinese DreamTo achieve the Chinese Dream by copying the US then….

China must!

1) China must add another political party, and say it’s a democracy even though both parties represent the same special interests.

2) China must give everybody guns.

3) China must create lots of lawyers so everybody can sue each other over the most trivial issues.

4) China must go from having the largest currency reserves to having the largest national debt.

5) China must convert train tracks to freeways.

6)  China must abolish free healthcare.

7)  China must abolish national maternity leave.

8)  China must abolish nationally mandated paid vacation.

9) The Chinese must increase their calorie intake and body fat by 50%.

10) The Chinese must see bicycles as toys for children and not vehicles for adults.

11) The Chinese must have two cars per household instead of mass transportation.  The Chinese must give up small cars for trucks and giant cars that have low fuel efficiency.

12) The Chinese must have everyone live in big houses and not apartments.  The houses must have huge lawns that require tons of water even in the middle of a desert!

13) The Chinese must heat or cool the whole house not just the rooms being used!

14) China must incarcerate 2% of the population (34 million people!).

15) China must expand their military to challenge any country that doesn’t align with Chinese corporate interests while ignoring education and infrastructure at home.

16) The Chinese must spend less time in school.

17) The Chinese must increase the cost of their higher education system so their college students graduate with crushing debt.

18) The Chinese must pick one religion over all others and give this religion special protections and privileges at the expense of all other religions.

19) The Chinese must close down their national government from time to time in order to squabble about political issues.

20) The Chinese must make public educational funding more unequal so that education cannot allow smart but poor students to use education to rise economically.

China and the US are both great countries and both have strengths and weakness.  However, the US is not China’s big brother and the US should accept that China has the right and wisdom to handle its own problems its own way.

Hugh Fox III - Bevel Emboss

 

My Articles About China and/or Chinese Culture

16 Basic Desires: China versus US

35 Accomplishments of Modern China

36 Stratagems

Acronym for Eight Types of Chinese Regional Cuisine

American versus Chinese Culture

American versus Chinese Culture

Astrology Chinese

Chinese Astrological Analysis of Nations

Chinese Astrology 60 Year Cycle

Chinese Do’s and Don’ts

Chinese Dream and American Reality

Chinese vs. Western Astrology

Confucius in Thailand 2012

Extending China’s One Belt One Road Initiative to Latin America

Table of Chinese Astrology 19th – 21st Century

The 36 Stratagems as Portrayed in Comic Books

Virtual Chinese Reunification Palace

 

 

Do Peruvian giant yellow-leg centipedes make good pets?

Hugh Fox Giant Centipede 1

Do Peruvian giant yellow-leg centipede (Scolopendra gigantea) make good pets? This is my story. I received Curly, the name of my centipede when I was fifteen in 1972 from my uncle Manuel.  My uncle had snuck the centipede past customs from Peru because he had a centipede of the same species given to him by his father, my grandfather, when he was around the same age as a pet and Manuel felt I was ready for this awesome responsibility.  Uncle Manuel said that if you could take care of a giant centipede then children and for that matter any task, was easy after that.  I have never had children period but perhaps this is true.

Their first few years with Curly were not easy.  I was bitten several times and had to be rushed to the hospital.  One of the more unpleasant aspects of being bit by Curly was the fact that your heart goes into cardiac arrest which makes your heart slow down to almost nothing and you feel like your soul is descending into the ground and even the underworld.  Fortunately, after the fifth or sixth bite, you develop some immunity to the venom.  You still feel like you are going to die but you at least have enough strength to inject the anti-venom serum into your heart without help and in a day or two you are just fine.

Luckily, Curly mellowed with age. After fifteen years of living together, Curly became a lot less aggressive towards me.  Curly also got a lot bigger!  A normal Peruvian giant yellow-leg centipede is about a foot long but after fifteen years Curly was almost two feet long.  The Peruvian giant yellow-leg centipede lives about five years in the wild and as long as ten years in captivity but if you give them our very secret Incan family recipe of herbs and spices then the centipedes can live a lot longer.

I cannot give the details of the recipe except to say Peru is bordered on one side by the Andes and the other side by the Amazon and because of this many botanical miracles can be found in Peru and nowhere else.  Some plants may not have even originated on our planet but may be deliberate hybrids between plants of different planets.  Shine an ultra violet lamp and shine that lamp on any jungle or field in the world, except Peru, then nothing will glow in the dark.  If you do the same experiment in Peru then you will become aware that some plants seem identical even using current DNA analysis to other plants but are in fact very different!

Actually no one in my family knows how long a centipede can live if they eat our special recipe.  Chulito, my uncle Manuel’s pet centipede, died when she was 55 years of age but only because she had wandered out into the street and been run over by a bus.  Chulito had grown to an amazing five feet in length and many a dog and cat disappearance, in the neighborhood my uncle lived in, was blamed on Chulito.

My uncle was always adamant that Chulito was innocent. My uncle claimed the stories of Chulito were lies by the communists who resented his Freemason connections. According to my uncle the communists said he had used his connections to stop the communists from erecting a statue of Karl Mark in the Park of the Exposition in Lima.

There was actually a great deal of eye witness testimony that the bus driver swerved in order to hit the centipede and had loudly said after the act that he had done what he had done in order to “matar el monstruo, matador de gatos y perros”, kill the monster, killer of cats and dogs.  Both criminal charges and a civil suit brought by my uncle against the bus driver failed because apparently centipedes are not protected under Peruvian law.

The funeral was dignified.  As the inheritor of the family tradition of the pet centipede, I of course asked for a leave of absence from my ESL teaching job in Houston and went to Lima to attend the funeral.  A coffin generally used for a dog was used.  My uncle had wanted to get a metal hermetically sealed steel coffin but my aunt had insisted that a wooden coffin was more than enough for a centipede.  The wooden coffin cost around fifty dollars.  The steel coffin would have cost almost two thousand dollars!

An informal, low key, pet cemetery on unconsecrated ground exists behind the Convento de San Francisco for Limeños of a certain social standing and Chulito was buried between a parrot that was famous for singing the national anthem of Peru albeit badly according to my aunt and a rooster that had been the fiercest fighter on the cock fighting circuit of Lima in the year of 1937.  The owner of the rooster had been an unabashed fascist and had named the rooster Mussolini.  The parrot was named José de la Torre Ugarte y Alarcón after the musician who had composed the Peruvian national anthem.  As a rule only pets of distinction above and beyond affection are given formal funerals in Lima.  I felt sad that Chulito had such a common name compared to her neighbors but I also felt glad she had such illustrious company.

A representative of the Museo Nacional Arqueología, Antropología e Historia Perú was in attendance and made one final appeal before the burial to donate the centipede body to the museum but offered very little in the way of money and instead appealed to my uncle’s sense of national honor.  In the year 2,006, a representative of Ripley’s Believe It or Not offered the fantastic sum of 10,000 dollars for the centipede body and the coffin was disinterred.

However, the wooden coffin fell into pieces as it was raised from the ground.  Mold, rot and insects had destroyed the coffin and the contents were beyond recognition.  My uncle cursed himself for not getting a better coffin for his old friend when he had the chance. The metal coffin would have cost two thousand dollars so an intact centipede body would have yielded a profit of eight thousand dollars.  After that day, whenever my aunt tried to make a point forcibly, my uncle would say, “Remember the wooden coffin of Chulito!”

The Chulito remark had the cumulative effect of causing my aunt Zoila to briefly consult a professor of psychology at San Marcos University that had been her classmate years earlier and was a psychoanalyst.  The problem is that the poor doctor could never quite understand that the centipede was an actual centipede rather than some opaque way of referring to my uncle’s penis. This led to my aunts often said observation that some of the stupidest people in the world are some of the most educated people in the world.  Later my aunt hopelessly tried to create some sort of theory that perhaps education in some ways caused stupidity.  However, my aunt was a very busy woman and always focused on keeping the house clean and the meals going since she was the nucleus of our extended family and theory did not feed children so her theory never got very far except in my own mind.

I later received a doctorate and read Malinowski.  I ultimately came to the conclusion that what is magic (nonsense that has societal sanction and passes for knowledge) and what is science (useful knowledge) is often known in hindsight.  I inherited the centipede from my uncle.  I inherited a suspicion of over-education from my aunt.  In both cases, I inherited a suspicion of theory.  I also came to the conclusion that just saying theory was useless was also useless.  Men form theories and that’s that.  I liked what Dewey had to say about theory.  You should reject particular theories but not the enterprise of theory building per se.  I have a theory of theories and its pragmatism.  You build new theories based on new evidence.

This murder/accident (?) that involved Chulito led to an ongoing feud between our family and the Ramdenk family of the bus driver.  The Ramdenks immigrated to Peru from Romania in the 1880’s and have always been in the business of group transport.  They started in the coach trade and moved into the bus trade later.   If you rode a bus in Lima in the last hundred years then your bus driver was probably some relative or crony of the Ramdenks.  There is an unusual strain of both albinism and dwarfism in Ramdenk gene pool so you are more likely to have an albino dwarf as your bus driver in Lima than in any other country in the world which I think adds to the local charm of Lima.

One Ramdenk did not want to be a bus driver and opened a Romanian restaurant in Lima in the 1960’s.  The restaurant failed a few years later due to a lack of interest in Romanian food in Lima. This particular Ramdenk committed suicide by eating gogoşi, a type of Romanian doughnut, mixed with opium.  Generally, this form of suicide was reserved for Romanian aristocracy.  This upstart form of suicide confirmed the suspicion among the Ramdenks that the fellow thought he was better than the family.  So the Romanian restaurateur became a cautionary tale to other Ramdenks who wanted to be more than bus drivers.  They say that if you walk in the area of the Hospital Almenara, where the Romanian restaurateur ultimately died, in Lima during a full moon then you will occasionally see an opiated albino ghost eating a donut muttering in Romanian.

The upshot of the feud is that members of my family in Lima do not ride on buses and walk much more than other Peruvians of their station.  The local truism is that because of all this walking, members of my family have enormous muscular legs and in fact the women in my family are known throughout Lima for having exceptionally shapely legs so perhaps something good did come out of the death of poor Chulito!

But I digress, as I stated previously, after about 15 years the Peruvian giant yellow-leg centipede starts to mellow and stops trying to kill you.  My own explanation is that the brain of the centipede gets bigger and bigger brains mean smarter centipedes.  The centipede starts to realize you are a consistent source of food and in turn tries to protect you rather than try to kill you!  This is great on the few occasions a dog tries to bite you since a two foot centipede can take down even a German Sheppard with a single bite in under 30 seconds but unfortunately the Peruvian giant yellow-leg centipede will attack any girl that tries to touch you much less kiss you.  This means that when you have girlfriends over then you need to make sure your centipede is safely locked up and this is not easy to do.

A two foot centipede will break the glass of most normal terrariums.  The two foot centipede will just ram the same area of the terrarium again and again.  The centipede prefers using a pebble but will use its own head if pebbles are not available.  This process may take weeks but centipedes are stubborn creatures.  I suppose learning how to use all those legs early on makes them stubborn.

What you really need is a terrarium made of toughened glass.  You will need to have this terrarium custom made since no one manufactures terrariums made of toughed glass normally.  Cages would be strong enough but a centipede can easily slip out of cages that a snake of the same size could not!  I would also suggest not letting your girlfriend, to be, know about your giant centipede until the relationship has matured.  Many women do not want to spend the night in an apartment that also houses a two foot centipede.  Fast forward!

Well its 2013 and Curly is 41!  Curly is almost three feet long and is still growing! Curly has been costly financially.  The costs include hospital visits due to bites, law suits related to missing cats and dogs, having to move constantly because of harassment from neighbors about Curly and the specialized terrariums.

Curly has also been costly in terms of relationships because I have never been lucky enough to find a woman that will accept a giant centipede as part of the romantic package.  I have tried again and again to make sure Curly stays in the terrarium but somehow Curly knows when there is a woman in the house and miraculously gets out of the best built terrarium and the woman invariably gets bit.

I now keep anti-venom in the fridge and am quite expert in injecting the anti-venom into the heart directly which means the lady in question is totally safe and will recover in a day or two but these incidents just about almost always lead to a break up and/or a law suit.  However, when Curly is cold then Curly will wrap himself around my neck and tickle my ears with his antennae affectionately and that’s when I know that I have made the right decision to keep Curly as a pet despite the costs!  I look into his big brown compound eyes and I see love!  Curly loves me and I love Curly and it’s just that simple.

So in conclusion, I think a Peruvian giant yellow-leg centipede can make a great pet!

Hugh Fox Giant Centipede 2

Hugh Fox III - Spider Men

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Hugh Fox Uncle Sam Used Car