And our blog winner is…

It’s almost payday – which means it’s also time to announce the winner of our first ever blog participation drawing. 

One lucky participant will receive an extra 500 baht on his or her paycheck.  The more you guys posted or commented this past month, the more of a chance you had to win.

In typical 2.0 fashion, I turned to the internet to generate a winner (sorry, I didn’t want to write your names on pieces of paper and put them in a hat). Here’s how I did it:

Step One.

I wrote down every instance where you participated in the blog (post, comment, or most recently, the teacher survey). Here is a screenshot of that list:

Step Two.

I went to and pasted the list into the random sequence generator.

Step Three.

I hit RANDOMIZE and voila! We had a number one spot:

Congratulations, Amber!

Pretty fitting as you were, in fact, the most frequent blogger/commenter.

And, for your viewing pleasure, here is that winning comment from Mike’s Free Lunch post:

What a perfect ending to a perfect month of blogging.  Thanks for all your support and participation!

Does it smell in here?

Name: Ryan Day

Age: 23

Hometown: Centreville, VA

Other Places You’ve Lived: Wilmington, NC – Hoboken, NJ

Former lives/occupations: Student / Bartender

Where did you attend school/when did you graduate/what was your degree in? University of North Carolina at Wilmington, degree in Biology

Where do you teach now?: Suratpittaya

Which levels do you teach? M2/M5

Favorite Thai food: Panagn Curry from Sweet Kitchen

One thing you wish you could find in Thailand: Grass-fed Rib-eye

Automatic or Manual (motorbike): Manual motorcycle

Coolest thing you’ve done/coolest place you’ve been: Got onto a magazine cover

Your blog:

Stuff about Teacher Joey

Name: Joseph/Joey McCarthy


Hometown: Santa Cruz, Ca

Other Places You’ve Lived: Monterey, Ca; San Rafael, Ca; Oceanside, Ca; Roseburg, Or

Former lives/occupations: Touring musician, Certified Master Bicycle Technician, bike shop manager, after school cycling program manager, valet.

Where did you attend school/when did you graduate/what was your degree in? I have a BA in Human communication from Cal State Monterey Bay, my concentration being Practical and Professional Ethics.

Where do you teach now?: I teach at both of the Thida Maepra schools.

Which levels do you teach? P1, P2, P6

Favorite Thai food: MASSAMAN CURRY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

One thing you wish you could find in Thailand: I would greatly appreciate if Surat Thani had a laundromat and an all you can eat salad bar.

Automatic or Manual (motorbike): Automatic clutch/manual shift

Bicycle: LA Bikes remix 26. It is an ok bike; the only problem is that it is about four sizes too small for me.

Coolest thing you’ve done/coolest place you’ve been: Hunting for treasure in Cambodia.

Your blog: My favorite blog is BikesnobNYC. You must read it right now!

Grateful for the Great

Being a new Thai transplant, I was unsure how my first holiday away from home being so fresh and so green would be; yet, there is quite a list of things I am grateful to have in my life that maybe would never have gotten recognition back in ‘merica.  Amongst those things are: fans, el tigre the pillow pet, skype, running water (when we have it), the breeze you get while driving your motorbike down the streets of Surat, a natural blow dryer called air, not always knowing where my phone is or if it’s even working, packages full of goodies from home, cheap food, living in the big house, and last but not least, a great crew of co-workers.  Thanks all for being such amazing cooks and great company– the first holiday away from home couldn’t have been any easier.

What a good Thanksgiving.

Seriously. This Thanksgiving ranks number 1 I think of all my Thanksgiving holidays so far. Amazing dinner at Ciao Italia. A fun turkey trot. Amazing dinner last night at a beautiful place with delicious apple pie and chocolate baked bananas to top it all off. I can’t imagine having a better group of people to celebrate this with. Love.

Head Swap 101 – Photoshop Tutorial #1

So, I’m not going to go through the ENTIRE process for doing this, but I’m giving you enough to get started. This can be used to swap heads or to add people/things to photos that weren’t originally there. This will show you how to get it started. The last part that I won’t show is adjusting the color, lighting, etc to make it match the current photo. If you want lessons, let me know.

Step 1: Find 2 photos that you want to use. If swapping heads, try to find a head that is positioned similar to the head already on the body you want to use. It’s a plus if the lighting is similar. Open both in Photoshop.

Step 2: Preparing the head. Add a new layer to the photo you will be decapitating. Then, on the toolbar on the far left, click the very bottom button. It just looks like a circle. Then, select the paintbrush tool. Paint over the face. It will always be red. Don’t worry about that. If you accidentally go outside the lines that you want, that’s fine. Just make sure you get the whole face. Once you do, then you can go back and select the eraser tool, zoom in and make final adjustments so that the red is perfectly covering the face to the jaw line (unless you want to include the neck).

Step 3: Removing the head. Go back to the circle button that you first clicked. Click it again. This will make a dotted line around the outside of the picture, and around the area that you just painted. Now click “Select” and “Inverse” at the top. This will change the selection so that it is now only the head. In the other image, create a new layer. Click the painted head and drag it over to the other image.

In this case, the picture of Ryan was much bigger than the small photo of Lady GaGa that I found online.

To correct this, hold down Command+T (on a PC I think it’s Control). While holding down the Shift key, drag one of the corners so that it approximately the same size as the other face. When finished, hit Enter. Drag the face over the other one.

Step 5: The tricky part. Create another layer. While this layer is selected, select the paintbrush and a bright color. Use a very small brush to put a dot on the inside and outside corners of each eye.

Turn the opacity on the “Ryan” layer so that you can see both faces.

Line up the dots with the corners of Lady Gaga’s eyes. You may need to use Command+T again to resize it. You can also use this to rotate the face by looking for the curved arrow.

Next, use the eraser to erase over where you see the original image through the new image. You can now see that Lady Gaga’s hair is visible over Ryan’s forehead.

In this picture, you can still see her ear and some face where Ryan’s didn’t cover it because is face is longer. To remedy this, turn the opacity on Ryan’s face back up to 100% and use the Clone tool (looks like a stamp).

Hold down Alt and click on the hair. Then draw over the ear and face to put hair there. Adjust as need be to make it look like it was there to begin with.

Now you’ve swapped heads! I will end the tutorial there. Once you have this down, you will have to get into Layer Masks to adjust the color of the face so that it matches everything else. As you know, Ryan is much redder than Lady GaGa, so I had to adjust the brightness, saturation, and then paint over his face at a low opacity by selecting a color of her underarm. Tada!

Trot that Turkey

It’s been a tradition in my family for years to do the annual turkey trot in my neighborhood. It’s for a good cause, like cancer research or how to get monkeys into better colleges or something. This will be the first year I don’t do this with my parents. I’d really love you guys if you came out and gave it a go for this thanksgiving. I know we’re missing it by a day or two, depending on what clock you go by, but this’ll will round out the holiday amazingly for me.

It’s also been my tradition for the past 4 years to get super drunk with my brother and friends the night before, then try to get out there and run the race early in the morning. I know it’s asking a lot, but if I’m doing it, I know you can.

When I say race, that’s just what I call it. I’m going to be giving a good effort out there, but I have to beat at least my brother’s time of 23:13. For most, I think it’d be cool to get out and celebrate the holiday together. Lets have fun, and then feel really awesome when we eat pounds of food later that day. We will have earned it. Plus, I got a sweet headband with your name on it, even if you just come out to watch.

Cheers gentlemen, you make us all proud to be American.

This is Ryan Day, and I approve this message.

How to sort of explain Thanksgiving to a P1

Yesterday was Thanksgiving and I wanted to do something Thanksgiving-y in my P1 class. I knew we were going to make “hand turkeys” but that was about the extent of my plan.

I wrote “Happy Thanksgiving” on the board and most kids shouted “happy birthday” or “happy new year” and the closest anyone got was “happy thank you!”

I figured it would be easy enough to explain until I got to that point. So, I drew this on the board.

Most of the kids knew what an Indian was (I wasn’t about to bring Native American into it) but the pilgrim was a whole other mess. First I tried European. Blank stares. Farang? Nope. Ok, white people…? Still nothing. Thankfully, my Thai teachers came to the rescue and translated.

Ok, so now we have the characters figured out. What is Thanksgiving? Well kids, the Indians gave the white people corn. And we said “Thank you!” So, today in America it’s Thanksgiving… and we eat corn… and turkey! So, we’re going to draw turkeys shaped like our hands!

Success. Sort of.

"Turkey Glop"

When I was in college I had a “guy on the couch”. By this, I mean that I had a friend (acquaintance?) that lived on my couch… It’s a long story. Anyway, he didn’t pay rent. He took up space. He smelled weird. But the one thing that he did contribute to the house was his knowledge of unusual recipes. One Thanksgiving, the other roommates and I cooked the traditional Thanksgiving dinner and, like always, there were plenty of leftovers. The next day “The Guy” showed us an easy and unusual recipe to make a delicious meal out of our Turkey Day scraps. He called it TURKEY GLOP. Don’t know why. Don’t care. It’s easy to make and it’s good. Here’s how:

-Leftover turkey and ham
-Peas, corn, green beans, whatever veggies you want to throw in
-Gravy or grease left over from the turkey (optional… but I like it.)
-Potato chips (regular)
-I’m probably forgetting things, but go ahead improvise as you see fit.

-Pour a bunch of milk into a pot and heat until almost boiling.
-Mix in some gravy and grease for flava’.
-Add cornstarch until the milk/gravy/grease glop thickens up to the consistency of a thick stew or thin sauce.
-Add all the turkey, ham, peas, corn, other stuff into the pot and let it heat up for a few.
-Pour that lovely batch of Glop over a bowl full of potato chips and chow down.
-Add salt and pepper to taste.

*Left over biscuits are always a delectable dipping companion.

So that’s Turkey Glop. It probably doesn’t sound too appetizing at this point, but don’t knock it til you try it. Also, I’m a dude and as you can tell I don’t really know measurements, but it’s not a very intricate “recipe” (if you can even call it that). So if you try this, use… what’s it called? Oh yeah, common sense. Happy Turkey Day!!!  Holla.