I met a pasty-faced 50 year old teacher today. He's 6'5 with gawky legs, a big belly and bad skin. He smokes pot and offered me some (I politely declined). He has a 24 year old live in Cambodian girlfriend--beautiful, previously a virgin and she thinks he'll marry her and take her to "the land where the streets are made of gold", America. Too bad he hasn't been in the States for 15 years, settling himself in Vietnam and before that Mexico for ten years. During which periods he went through a string of similarly beautiful 20-somethings who are happy to have the status symbol of being with an American and ecstatic to wear on their finger whatever $15 trinket catches his eye at the local market. The poor girls will never find out that the streets of America aren't made of gold because his only intention from the start is to teach for a few years, then drift on to the next third-world destination.


I've gotten the "full effect" of Cambodia. The authentic third world experience.

You almost have to be a little bit sadomasochistic
to want the full effect, because you know you're going
to be eating some questionable foods and shitting in a
hole in the ground, literally 6 inches from the
nearest playing kid. But it's worth it when you see
everyone in the neighborhood stop by your
countryside retreat to view, "the big white people from America"
and you ponder what is going through their mind as
all manner of indigenous people stare at you intently,
old women motioning their daughters towards you, and
kids laughing hysterically. They must think you're some
kind of prince or king. You can tell them anything,
and that's not a figure of speech, I mean anything,
it's not like they would understand. I tell them my
name is Robert DeNiro and I'm an actor. Other
times, when I'm feeling giddy, my name is Rambo and I've
been to Vietnam.

With regards to partying. Weddings here are a
sickness. Marriages are as commonplace here as
mosquitos on a camping trip. Everyone is fucking
getting married, and everyone is invited. Because
all a marriage is really, is just a bunch of Cambodians
getting drunk, a few of them very well-dressed.

American New Year, let's get drunk and dance.
Chinese New Year, let's get drunk and not work for a
three days, dancing the entire time.
Cambodian New year, let's get drunk for a whole week
and shut down the entire so called "economy."

Everyone should experience the "organized chaos" that is Asia.
These people just live like this and it's hard to describe, but once
you walk out of that airport in Phnom Penh or Bangkok
you'll see for yourself.


I got a new teaching job at a different school. They have over 3800 students, or so they claim. Regardless of the exact number, the school is buzzing, and they even have a commercial (albeit a shitty one) on local TV. The bad thing is I don't start until March 28th and my hours at the other school are sparse until then. When I get my tax return back I hope to travel to Vietnam for about 10 days. I want to see and learn about vietnamese culture and check out some battle sites. Saigon and Hanoi are my destinations. Hanoi is VERY far north. It's practically in China.

Fedex has an office in Phnom Penh and I spoke to them I have a good idea of how to get it done. Just mail the document to the FEDEX office and they will call me when it arrives--I know it sounds strange but the office is legit and that's just how they do things here.

I want you to mail my computer to me via fed ex.
A package of ten kilos (22 pounds) should cost between 150-200 dollars. That's what it costs to mail from Cambodia to the US so I believe it should be the same vice versa.

But don't mail it yet, I want to buy a cell phone on ebay, have it mailed to our house and then I want you to mail them together (along with my new BOA card).

In the mean time, if you can figure it out, you could disassemble my computer to save money on shipping.
The case weighs a lot. And I can buy a really nice one here for 25 dollars. I don't really need the power supply either.

I just need the motherboard (cpu and ram and stuck in the board so you just need to remove the motherboard with the two attached) the hard drive and the DVD burner (there are two dvd drives, the newer one i.e. NOT the Hitachi is the DVD burner, the older one is just a DVD reader). There are plastic-looking bags in my boxes in the cellar which are antistatic. Cover the mobo in those like fort knox and ship with good padding.

I know this is hard so I'll write a step by step:

1. Disconnect all peripherals from machine. I don't care about the mouse keyboard, monitor because I can buy them here on the cheap.
2. Remove plastic case front by pulling the lever on the bottom towards you.
3. Remove left case panel by sliding it towards you.
The case is now open
4. Disconnect all wires going to the hard drive/floppy/dvd drives
5. Pull the hard drive casing out by pushing front handles in.
6. Unscrew and remove the hard drive from the casing, place it inside an antistatic bag.
the hard drive is now removed and ready for shipping.
7. Remove the dvd drives in the same manner as the hard drive.
Ship the newer DVD drive. The Hitachi is the old drive and should not be shipped. The newer drive is a dvd +/-r :it burns dvds. The older drive is just a dvd rom, it just reads dvds. If you are not completely sure, ship both.
8. Remove all wires connecting the case to the motherboard.
9. Remove the wire-group that connects the motherboard to the power supply.
10. Unscrew the power supply in the back of the case and remove it just to be sure of easy removal of the motherboard. I don't need the power supply.
11. Remove the video card which is the rightmost card plugged into the motherboard by unscrewing the top screw and firmly, but gently pulling up and away.
12. Place the video card in an antistatic bag.
The video card is ready to ship.
13. Remove any other peripheral cards and put aside. I don't believe there are any.

With all cards removed the motherboard is ready to be unscrewed from the case and placed in a large antistatic bag.
14. There are two or three screws which attach the motherboard to the case. Remove all three carefully.
15. The motherboard should lift out of the case easily. Nothing should be forced, but being a Giambrone you already know this.
Place the M/B into a bag and it is ready to be shipped. It should fit into the largest antistatic bag that I have in one of my boxes in the basement. There is some wires and shit in the bag presently that you can put anywhere without worry. If the heatsink (the square thing that juts out from the face of the board) causes the m/b not to fit you will have to remove it by pushing the shiny metal clip down and away from the chip. You have to use some torque--carefully applied force.
If the m/b fits into the bag with the heatsink in place just leave it as is.

Now the fun part (for someone like you):

Imagine all the crazy Cambodians you can. Think of Chucky and Damnak over and over again throwing the box containing my precious computer all over the place, onto airplanes, onto ships, into cars, under some small familys' ass on a truck that they're sitting on and the family waved them down on the roadside and gave them 2000 riels (50 cents) to hitch a ride and is now sitting, mother holding infant, father, and two raucaus boys, age unknown. on TOP of my computer box.

This is how you have to pack my computer. There is only a handful of people in the world who can pack a computer safe enough to make it here in one piece. The rest of them are dead. You're the last survivor, Rambo, and so the jobs falls to you.

Anyways I love and I miss you and the states in general. Oh before I forget, if you ever ship anything, make sure you stuff some wiffleballs inside the package. You just can't buy them here.


Cambodian people are warm and resilient but they have some seriously detrimental cultural issues: Whiteness is the holy grail of appearance. White children especially are seen as treasures of humanity, getting celebrity-like attention. Jude would be worshipped by Khmer women here. These are people who apply "whitening" cream almost religiously, wear hats to block the sun from darkening them and patronize their darker peers. Blacker children often get less attention (and even, I daresay, love from their parents). The phrase "black is beautiful" is as foreign a concept in Southeast Asia as Tex-Mex cooking.