April 11, 2014

  • National Poetry Month

    April is National Poetry Month, sponsored by the Academy of American Poets in the interest of exposing more people to the joys of poetry and the creative minds behind the words. Last year was a productive month for me, as I was able to write a minimum of one poem a day for 30 days. This month has been more stifled for me, however. My last teaching job ended and I found a job in the Chiang Mai area, tutoring Chinese students online. Orientation for the position ran from April 7 to April 9, and I start officially this coming Wednesday. So this month has been rather busy. Instead of writing one poem a day, it is my goal to write at least 30 poems for the month, and it is hoped that I will exceed my goal.

    This month marks the fourth anniversary of my departure from Chiang Mai to Ubon Ratchathani, and it also marks my return. I missed this place on some levels. It is good to be back. Unfortunately, it is Songkran week, the celebration of the Thai new year that turns the country into an armed camp of squirt gun and supersoaker armed people out to hose you before you hose them. Beware the buckets of water that are in your face, as well as the threat of water balloons marked “to whom it may concern.” That is very much an indiscriminate way of making a splash with you.

    More later.

  • Phra Sumen – panarama images

    Phra Sumen images were captured with a Canon A800 camera and were
    stitched together using Hug-In software.






    Images were taken on April 6, 2014.

March 13, 2014

  • Writing Essays

    The writing of essays is one of the foundations of a student’s university education. Students are expected to show a certain level of expertise with their major. The essay is one way for them to show how much they know, as well as share their opinions based on what they have learned through class attendance and independent research and study.

    To help students develop their writing skills, English classes from grade six through grade 12 are assigned to write smaller essays, usually in the 500 word range, which is about a page-and-a-half. It is the length of the typical letter to the editor featured in daily newspapers. Longer research papers may be required by other teachers, depending on the subject.

    The essay is broken down into three components. The first part is the most critical, as it has to get the attention of the reader. This is the INTRODUCTION to the essay. There are five tools that are available to the student to help grab the readers’ attention, and they are called GRABBERS. Examples of grabbers include the following: quote/proverb, amazing fact, curiosity, humor, and anecdote. These grabbers will help the writer get to the point of the essay, which is called the THESIS. The thesis introduces the TOPIC the writer is addressing in the essay.

    Once the subject is revealed to the reader, one has three opportunities to prove why the opinion they have is valid. The first reason is addressed in the second paragraph. One sentence explains the reason, and the other two or three sentences explain the reasoning. These three paragraphs are the BODY of the essay.

    The second paragraph will explain the second reason. It will also have two or three sentences that support or reinforce the line of reasoning.

    The third paragraph is your strongest argument supporting your thesis statement. It must also have the strongest reinforcement to your arguments. If the first and second paragraphs cannot stand, this is your third line of defense, and it must stand up to scrutiny.

    Finally, we have the CONCLUSION of the essay, the summary of what you have just said. This is where you tie everything up into one nice, tidy little package.

    Two tools are required to help bring your essay to life, and are particularly critical in longer essays at the university level. These tools are called SOURCES, and there are two types of sources: primary and secondary.

    PRIMARY SOURCES include yourself as a witness to events that you are writing about in an essay. Other people you interview are also primary sources. You are getting first hand information.

    SECONDARY SOURCES include books, newspapers, magazines, Internet websites, etc. These are sources that pass news of record on as a secondary source. You did not talk with someone one-on-one, but someone else did, and recorded their stories for the record.

    One need never fear the writing of an essay when it is on a subject that one has an invested interest. It need never be boring or tedious. As a reflection of who you are and the passion you have for the subject, it should be a matter of joy that you write it. Who else better can tell your story or share your opinion than YOU?


March 3, 2014

  • Liar’s Knife

    not every battle is covered in glory
    not every hero lives to tell his story
    not every cause is worth the shedding of blood
    not every life is worth the price of this mud

    we wanted to believe in the straight and true
    we marched knowing what we were going to do
    take the battle to the enemy, we said
    we came back home left weary and dead

    we watched as our truth became a lie
    no good reason for our enemies to die
    I wonder why I can sleep in peace
    when for my brothers there is no release

    not every heart deserves to beat strong and bold
    not every story deserves to be told
    and all that gold I see glittering
    falls into hands undeserving

    I wonder why they can sleep in peace
    I wonder why they get sweet release
    my brothers deserved to live their lives
    but got cut down early by a liar’s knife

February 23, 2014

  • Drifting Away

    some people wake up wise
    some don’t wake up at all
    some poke out their eyes
    tired of all the things they saw
    and I’m checking out soon
    fill up the hot air balloon
    I’m drifting away
    I’m drifting away

    some people starving for news
    looking for reasons to sing the blues
    and the friends they pick and choose
    hit the alarm for one last snooze
    tell me what’s left to lose
    after things are said and done
    show me a place to hang my guns
    gonna have me a little fun

    you can take me to task
    for the questions I didn’t ask
    I’m even willing to take the blame
    for how the team threw the game
    I’m used to being on the losing side
    and I’m ready for one last slide
    there isn’t much now left to say
    please don’t look at me that way

    some people wake up blind
    they forever closed their hearts and minds
    in the darkness they trip and stumble
    over things they searched their whole lives for
    they can’t even find the door
    they thought they were on the winning team
    but you and I know nothing is ever as it seems

    and I’m drifting away
    I’m drifting away

January 13, 2014

  • New Year’s Declarations

    We have less than five hours to go before we put the year of our Lord 2013 to bed. It has earned its rest.

    While it was a productive year, it wasn’t as productive as I would have liked it to have been. While I am glad that its over, I don’t feel quite as satisfied with the ending. I should have done more. More words should have been written. More pictures should have been taken. More miles should have been traveled. Not enough was read or heard. Not enough was experienced. In the end, not enough was shared.

    So as I sit here writing this, I have decided not to make any New Year resolutions concerning how I plan to do better in the coming year. Resolutions are ceremonial, and often do not mean anything days or weeks after they are made or broken. I’ve decided to make New Year’s declarations, instead. Declarations carry enough intent behind them to make things happen. No one ever went to war over a resolution. It means nothing when the resolve is gone. A declaration, however, brings with it white knuckles and gnashing teeth. Titans will clash over declarations.

    My declarations may sound like typical resolutions. Lose weight. Write more. Read more. Be more creative. What it comes down to is the attitude required to put the plan into action. Resolutions fail because of bad attitudes that reflect apathy or that fails to find value in the struggle to achieve the goals. A declaration lays everything on the line. At the end of the line one is either a winner or a loser. For the winner there is no end of the line. It is only a turning point where the decision is made to either do it again, or do something different. Either way the line goes on.

    We have 364 days to connect the dots with the lines we write in the sand. Each of us will go from A to B to C, while others take more serendipitous paths to their personal victories. Where ever we end up on Day 365, staring at the final hours of the year of our Lord 2014, let’s make sure the year has earned its rest and we come away happy with a greater sense of accomplishment.

    Happy New Year

    James H.
    Bangkok, Thailand
    Dec. 31, 2013 to Jan. 1, 2014


November 24, 2013

November 8, 2013

  • Jubilee

    celebrate this year
    with gladness
    bless your life
    smiles and laughter brighten
    the darkest of times