Wednesday, November 19, 2008

One small step for me

I finished the socks! The toe parts are all square but they are comfortable (my husband said). I knit them out of an old wool sweater. Hopefully this is a giant leap for me to finish all my projects.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Siamese Buckaroo mentioned on The Asian Reporter

Click to page 5. You can also pick up a copy at your neighborhood. Look for green newspaper box with the sign "Asian Reporter" Thank you Toni Tabora-Roberts for writing about my projects.

Assignment from Jen (Tuesday, September 30th, 08)

Answers for Jennifer Delos Reyes "3 questions" assignment. Jen co-teach the Social Practice class with Harrell this term.


I want to do something that community can participate in or related to. I stopped making material based work after I live in Alaska and realized how fast global warming has become. I thought that if my husband and I are trying our best to live green, and believe that we should give back to the earth, then why can't I have a career that support my believe? Why do I have to compromise it for the sake of making art or being artist? I already made sculpture from recycle material at that time but I want to take it further, make less objects. Also I realized that my parent, cousins, and non-art friends has never been to the art museum. They feel too nervous to walk into gallery. I started to ask myself why I am doing this. It's never be about money at the beginning. I have never sold anything in my life. So I start to select my career choice. What do I want to do with this art education? What should I spend the rest of my life doing? I have always been a political active person and I believe in activism work so I start apply that to the project. I had a difficult childhood and I have seen a lot during those years so mundane and everyday life never attract me. As much as I love those cool projects that create fun activities, I never feel like doing them. Maybe I'm one of those naive artist who thought they can save the world (and I still believe that I somehow can). So I tried to do projects that make a change or save something from being lost. Basically do something that I think matter. I feel really uncomfortable to say that "Social" is my medium. For me Social is not the medium, I am the medium and Social (community) is the artist. For example, my Dave's Killer Bread project, the only thing I'm contribute is the idea of making a book and my book design skill. The wonderful stories and pictures are from Dave and other contributer. Dave is already an artist and very creative person. He just doesn't have time to make a book. But I do have time and therefore I am his medium.


I'm here with the conviction that my childhood background, subsequent life experience, and current environmental and political beliefs will inspire me to create sustainable, functional, and socially-conscious art works that the community can relate to and benefit from. My plan is to integrate my social art practice with other fields of study to create works that promote a better environment, advance social development, support human rights, enhance diversity, and preserve ethnic and cultural heritage. I know it might not be what art supposed to do but I can't help it. Somehow I feel that I need to do it this way, or change my career plan entirely. The goal is that people get something out of it, whether realized about toxic in their food, chemical in their surrounding, or help the city save the rotten river they saw everyday. When my dad was young he swam in Jao Pra Ya river (largest river in Thailand) everyday. Some day my grandma will yelled at him to get her some prawns. He said all he has to do was reach under the dock and grab them. River was so clean you can drink it. You can't even swim in Jao Pra Ya river now. I want clean world that my dad once lived for my children or great grandchildren to be realistic. I don't hate other art, this is highly just a personal choice. Just how I think I should live and work. Also I like humor, so I'm trying to put that in to keep people interest.


First, I became an artist because I have no choice. Nobody tell me that by the time I realized what I want to do it will be too late. You need so many prerequisites for other fields and I have already invest in many years of my life to earn art degree. I'm not going to change field and gain more education loan debt. Plus, other field is so inflexible. For example, soup kitchen only open for certain hours, so if you are homeless you have to force feed yourself dinner at 4 pm. I probably got fire on my first day as Social Worker who try to do a midnight pancake breakfast. Also I have so many interests and art give me that flexibility, I can do social work today, linguistic tomorrow and so on. In a good way I think art is perfect for what I do. I keep thinking about advertising since the Harrell Fletcher told us at the first term "try to think of your work as advertising, how they attract people, what is the advertising agency does? So I guess that sort of how I position myself. I saw people, topics, or organization that I think interesting. Then I collaborate to make projects that advertise or promote them. I also want the work to embed in the society just like advertising so I try my best to stay away from gallery setting as much as possible. I don't want people to have to make an afford, stop doing what they do and go to gallery to experience art. My target audience is not art lovers or artists. But again maybe someone like my mom who went to the market one day and see one of my work and thought "hey that cereals I ate has chemical which known to cost cancer". And maybe she'll stop buying it and tell her friends. I just thought, if "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle" sounds and looks as cool as Nike's "Just do it" ads, the world will be different now. After all, you don't have to pay a museum admission fee to see Coke's commercial. Writing the answer to this question caused me a lot of stress because I feel that I am shooting myself in the foot, again feeling like I'm in the wrong field and I have no future in the art world. But I am very happy about what I am doing so I guess that's cool. Good questions by the way.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Summer 08 (2) TBA


Summer 08

Pictures from my paper presentation, "Mindfulness in Thailand: A Phenomenological Analysis" at the International Association of Cross Cultural Psychology Conference (Jacob University, Germany). I forgot the camera so I don't have picture of me at the podium. Thank you Jean Marc for sending photos.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Can food is the new plastic (or actually worst)

This is sad. I learned about BPA (Bisphenol A) in canned food. The amount of BPA in canned food is twice more than plastic! I don't really eat canned food, but I bought some ingredient in can like coconut milk (in Thailand we just make it fresh from coconut). Even the organic canned food has BPA. It comes with the cans.

BPA links to hormone imbalances, including breast and prostate cancer, early puberty and changes in brain structure, particularly for exposures during key points of fetal or early neonatal development.

Read more below.

P.S. if you are going to cook curry, use coconut milk that comes in paper boxes. Or milk it
from fresh coconut if you can get some. I know I will from now on.

Mrs. McCain is original

Everyone probably already heard of this. I first read it a while ago and somehow I still marveled at Mrs. McCain's courage to keep on stealing. Maybe she is very innocent, not very smart, or high on cherry flavor cough syrup. I mean, if I'm going to steal other people recipe, I won't copy it from famous source like Food network or Hershey. I'd bribe a really old lady for recipe and threaten to takeaway all her blankets and tea kettles if she ever tell anyone. "All employee must wash their hands"

From Wonkette
"A few months ago, John McCain’s second and current wife, “Trollop” Cindy, was caught stealing recipes from the Food Network and publishing them as her own material, a simple lapse of ethics that you’re supposed to learn, and master, at age four. Cindy has contributed another recipe, to Parents magazine. This recipe for Oatmeal Butterscotch Cookies was, of course, directly cribbed from Hershey’s website."

Monday, June 30, 2008

Farm Life

I surprised my mom on the phone call Sunday night. We were talking about my future after graduation (if I manage to graduate) and I told her that I really really want to have kids and be a farmer. It's the farmer part that surprised her. She made me realized that this farming thought has been accrued only after I moved to the US, which is 8-9 years ago.
As a young child, I wanted to be many things but never once a farmer. Why now?

I don't know! When I lived in Pathumtanee I had many farmer's friends. Mostly rice farmers. My ancestors, as far as I know, dig clay to make pots and roof to trade for food (my dad's part the Mon people who took refugee in Thailand after Monland broke). That's also how my dad's family made a living, my grandpa's second job was a medicine man, making medicine using traditional Mon herbal. I still have to find out what my Thai's ancestors did, I only know my grandpa employed as a soldier, got killed when my mom was young. My grandmother later married a fellow soldier, who became my second grandpa.

One thing came to mind, Things grow like weed in Thailand back when I was young (except rice). I would ate an orange and spit the seed out, then find an orange tree grew from it. 10 mangoes trees around the house that require no special attention. Lemongrass, kaffir lime leaf, basil, lime, ginger...pick it or dig just before cooking. Then throw the seed or root back to the ground, it will come back after the rain fall. Rice farm need strong people, lots of people and water buffalo. I was really sick a lot as a child. So maybe that's explain it. Or could it be global warming and the use of chemical that made me want to grow my own? I want to grow
veggies, fruits, and herbs that is safe for my family to eat. In South Dakota my husband and I grew 1/8 acre of organic veggies & melons. It was one of my most favorite memory & the greatest joy.

"what kind of farmer do you want to be?" my mom asked
"Goats farmer or salt farmer" I said
"Goats sound like fun, but salt farming is too boring" mom said

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Sunday, June 1, 2008

World Heritage Set back

3 years ago UNESCO put Khao Yai National Park on the World Heritage list.
My mom lives and opened a small camping/bed and breakfast there. I love everything about Khao Yai, the beauty, the people, animals, the air (range 7 best ozone in the world due to 600,000 hectare of mountain/forest). Anyway the Thai newspaper (Thairath) just announced that the world heritage list made Khao Yai so popular. The result? Now every inch around Khao Yai (the mountain are protected by Thai National Park, they mean the area around the park) are all purchased by rich people, mostly businessmen, politicians, and celebrities. People who sold the land are mostly poor farmers. This is very sad. The land's price has been upgraded by the park's new status. What the new landowner want?
1. more golf and spa resort
2. luxury hotels and restaurant
3. high tech animal watching tour

Meanwhile, the tigers are hard to see these day. “Tigers are an indicator species. Their presence in the forest demonstrates a healthy ecosystem and is important in maintaining biological balance. The decline in tiger numbers is a serious environmental concern.” according to Khao Yai's National Park staff.

A paradox of land conservation.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Friday, May 23, 2008

What's in the mail

Look ma! It's a passport!


Thursday, May 22, 2008

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Yes We Can!

I joined 75,000 Portlanders at the South Waterfront on Sunday to listen to Senator Barack Obama speak. I have never seen Portland so diverse! So inspiring! So united! Everyone was excited to be there. Some people were there just to get the chance to see him from almost a mile away. Everyone was there: White, Black, Asian, Native American, Hispanic, Middle Eastern, men, women, gay, straight, young, old. We are all one and
at some point we all shout

Monday, May 12, 2008

passport photo

Passport photo! Looking very proper in the yellow shirt (the yellow shirt show respect to the king & to Celebrate the Thai King's Birthday--my dad bought me the shirt). I'm trying one more time to get a temporary passport through Thai Embassy in NY.

I need passport soon. I want to go home, that's more important than Germany, just go home. I need to go home.

In the meantime, I want to stop speaking unless it's necessary, such as classroom or work related but no more personal comment, no more excuse, no more self explaining,
no more voice. Maybe this can be a project?

I'm tired & I want to improve my writing skill.

Read "the Price Is Rice" article here

Click here to read my article "The Price is Rice" on Daily Kos.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

No Country for Old Me!

Some of you may have heard about my struggle to attempt to renew my expired passport. After many mailed documents, phone calls, and emails, the newest issue is that the Thai government wants my marriage license to be certified by the US Secretary of State.

"You mean Condi Rice?" I asked with amusement.
"US secretary of State" an officer from Thai embassy said
"You mean Condi? Condi Rice?"

I saw my research presentation in Germany waving goodbye and I already bought the ticket! But I'm most frustrated because it's been a really long process so far.
My expired passport can't be renewed. After 9/11, the Thai government issued a new passport system which requires me to go to the embassy and do it in person. There's no embassy in Portland. Plus, I can't use the last name "Christopher" until Condi signs the document. I asked if I can just get a new passport, then change the last name part later.

"No, once the new passport is issued, you can't change anything. You're stuck with it for the rest of your life" the Thai embassy said.
"How can I get back to the US then?" My green card has "Christopher" as last name"
I asked and received no answer.

More bad news is that the passport takes about 2-3 weeks and I still have to apply for a visa to go to Germany because I am a citizen from a developing country. Americans and citizens from other rich countries are free to travel to most countries in the world without a visa as long as they do not stay longer than 90 days. I have to pay about $95 for a visa application, provide proof that I have enough money, provide proof of round trip plane ticket purchase, etc. and I have to go to the nearest German consulate (San Francisco) for an in-person interview.

Such is life and I can't complain. I just feel a little bit like I'm in limbo. I'm half Mon which has no country, half Thai but received very little help from the Thai embassy/government. I can't get a US passport because I'm not a citizen and I can't get out of the US without a valid passport.

But as my husband said "When life gives you lemon, make a stiff Long Island Ice Tea" (he never actually said this, I just kinda wish he did). So I'm going to make this an (art) project somehow.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


I made some progress on the BES (Portland Bureau of Environmental Services) kids education website.
Click here to see it
My brain has been caught up with computer codes lately, so I decided to knit again (great cure for stress, seriously). Here is one raggedy sock (I'm far from a neat knitter), will I finish a pair of sock? Let's keep our fingers cross.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Daily Kos

Some of you might remember my attempt to submit letter to editors for the NY Times which is fail miserably. I decided to publish the article on my website, but yeah I only have a few visitors. So I posted a diary on the Daily Kos, and now I have people comments and send me encouraging message. This is why I write! Good comments are nice but I would not mind the bad one. Just the fact that people are reading it is enough for me to write (Am I narcisistic? probably) Here is my Daily Kos link

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

My Heart Origami Menu

I haven't present to P' Yui (the food cart owner and chef) yet. I'm a little nervous and hope he likes it. But if not, then I'll make a new one.

Friday, April 4, 2008


You might already know, the price of rice and wheat went up the roof in this past few month. Click here to read NY Times article

It's a hot topic around the world right now. Today the Thai government announced that the rice seller decided to stop deliver rice to prisons, blaming the price of rice is higher than the current bid. Click here if you can read thai. The budget for prisoner meals in Thailand is 42 bath per person per day. That's a little more than $1 (at the time that $ is down). The budget included everything that produce the meal, cook's salary, oil, heating cost, and etc. I thought that was low, but find out that Florida
only pays $2.67 for three meals a day for each inmate and according to the PalmBeach Post article on March 29, Lawmakers in the House want to reduce that cost to $2.30 a day. England spend a bit more, £1.87 ($3.70) per day for adult prison and £3.81 ($7.50) for Young Offenders. I can't find the price, but below is from the old Times online article about prison in Italy At a prison that detains murderers and Mafiosi in Velletri, a small town south of Rome, in Italy, prisoners play an active role in cultivating organic fruit and vegetables and making fresh juices, jams, tomatoes, olive oil and wine. The prison has state-of-the-art food production zones including the latest computerised fertilising systems in its orchards, and micro-filtered wine-making equipment in its cantina. The harvested fruit (including grapes, peaches, cherries, strawberries and figs) and vegetables (including tomatoes, courgettes, aubergines,) are incorporated into the prison menus. The prisoners even get 250ml of wine per day in a plastic bottle. The menu is based on typical Italian cooking, including pasta and minestrone and other Mediterranean specialities. “The coffee is superb in prison prepared with extreme care and attention, and sweets and pastries made with as much imagination as possible in the environment."


Thursday, April 3, 2008


A while ago I was kicked out of the Yerba Buena Garden by a security guard. I was asleep with my dog and the guard woke me up.

"There's no sign telling me not to" I said.

But the guard informed me that it is absolutely a "no, no"
"No dog, No luggage" He said. (I checked out of the hotel and had no place to go).
"You must leave the park now" He told me.
"Are there any other park near by that we can rest?" I asked
"I don't know, I don't live here" He said

I just think of this event because while I search for stuffs to put in my poor resume. The link below just came up and I realized that although it's indirectly, this is the second time the YBCA security guard sort of rejected me. (link below) Ouch......

My review link

Last 2 days I did a YouTube experiment on this blog, I posted a bunch of clips and then code them to auto-played at once and it was so annoying and it gave me a severe headache. I think they use the same technique in military to torture terrorist prisoners (country/countries remain anonymous per request). So if you did not tune in this past few days, you just miss it! Another reason to check this blog everyday :) Make it a routine, like brushing your teeth (well, unless you only brush your teeth on weekly basis, then find other routine that's more often).

Anyway, it's been a while since I keep up with this blog. Below is the 2008 Winter Term review, part video, part live presentation.

This is my Amber's Artist interview book for Professor Pat Boas's seminar class (Artist as Writer). We were assigned to do an artist interview. Interview the second year MFA student. I interview Amber Jensen and decided to make an online book for her using children book as a theme. This will be post on the main page soon.

But for now go to

Friday, March 28, 2008

Guten Tag

I received this email today. I am super excited. I have to re-learn German (did it for a year and quit). I'm not very good at it but hopefully I can understand some.

I am pleased to inform you that your submission for a single oral presentation, "Mindfulness in Thailand: A Phenomenological Analysis," has been accepted to the congress program. Cordially
Klaus Boehnke


The 19th International Congress of the
International Association for Cross-Cultural Psychology (IACCP)
Check out the congress website at

Thursday, February 7, 2008


The death of Maharishi brought me back to Thailand in 1996, a year that my sister & I decided to practice Hinduism. We even persuaded my mom to come to the temple with us.
I don't know why did we stop going. I think I was at the age of searching for something I could hold on to (can't speak for my sister). I remembered that in the late 1997, I started to read bible & went to the mass. Then I stopped going again (I'm a poster child for quitters).
Anyway, I read the Daily Kos & NY Times today & found out that Maharishi was the owner of an organization worth $300 millions(University, books, DVD, real estate etc.) The organization based in Fairfield, Iowa. The weird thing is, it was the biggest contributor of Ron Paul Campaign!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

The abstract

My husband and I collaborated on the mindfulness research. We just submitted abstract to the International Association of Cross Cultural Psychology Conference (University of Bremen, Germany). Read our abstract below
Mindfulness in Thailand: A Phenomenological Analysis

In recent years Western psychology has developed a burgeoning interest in mindfulness. Although preliminary evidence supports the efficacy of several mindfulness-based approaches to psychotherapy (e.g., Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for Depression), there are subtle though important distinctions between contemporary Western and the traditional Buddhist operationalizations of mindfulness. Relatedely, Baer (2003) cautions that current mindfulness-based interventions risk overlooking important elements of the long tradition from which mindfulness meditation originates, and Kabat-Zinn (2003) warns that if the prevailing kinds of mindfulness research and theorizing are continued exclusively, they may prove limiting, distorting, and ethnocentric. Therefore, in this presentation the first author, a native Thai Buddhist woman, explores the differences between the nature and function of her culturally inculcated Theravada Buddhist mindfulness and contemporary Western psychotherapeutic mindfulness. In the second part of the presentation we review the results of a study in which we assessed Western mindfulness in 24 Thai Theravada Buddhist monks using self-report measures of mindfulness developed in the US. In providing support for our hypotheses, the quantitative results revealed that the monks had equivalent (and on some subscales lower) levels of Western mindfulness relative to American college students with no meditation experience, and the qualitative results suggest that the monks conceptualized mindfulness in different terms than in the West. Implications for future mindfulness research and therapy practice are addressed.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Siamese Buckaroo for Obama

In 2004 while working for the Kerry-Edwards campaign in New Hampshire. My husband & I knew that we would win in New Hampshire but Kerry would not win the election. The campaign were not very well organized & Kerry did not established enough trust for Americans. This year it took me a while to decide who I want to volunteer for. After I finished reading Barack Obama's book "Dreams From My Father" and listen to the debates. I made a decision.
I want change.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

My letter to the Village Voice

Response from The NY Times Public Editor
Dear Ms. Christopher,
Thank you for writing. I will make sure the appropriate person sees your message.
Michael McElroy
Office of the Public Editor
The New York Times

I haven't heard anything since then so I decided to send the article to the Village Voice.

Dear Mr. Harkavy:
I wrote this letter and article to the NY Times in response to their biased article about Thailand & Thai elephants. They did not publish the article. I was wondering if the Village Voice would consider publishing the article. I believe it is a very important issue that I would like to disseminate. Thank you so much.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Elephants at Maesa Elephant Camp, Chiang Mai Thailand


Dear NY Times:

When I first saw the article "Caution: Elephants Brake for Food on Bangkok's Roads" written by Mr. Thomas Fuller, I was very excited. I have been living in the United States for ten years and any reminiscence of my home, Thailand, is a joy for me to see and read. However, I was disappointed with the article after I read it. Mr. Fuller wrote the article from a perfect journalistic perspective, which included interviews with the locals and concise historical research. However, as a Thai woman who grew up in Bangkok and then lived in Khao Yai National Park where the majority of elephants reside peacefully in their own habitat, I feel that Mr. Fuller's article was a bit superficial and rife with stereotypes. For example, it would be nice to read something from Thailand without seeing words like "illegal activities", "fake watch", "pirated DVD", "red-light district", "a Go Go bar", and of course "bar girls". Yes, the article was about elephants in Bangkok, but there are many areas in Bangkok and other parts of the country that can provide Mr. Fuller with an elephant dwelling experience. Although I cannot deny that it is much quicker and easier to find news sources in the red-Light district.

Furthermore, the ending of the article is bit biased toward humans.
The article portrayed the elephant as "powerful, restless creatures prone to rebellion" and as "fierce" creatures. I grew up with a different view of elephants. For me, they are smart, gentle, and spiritual. In my opinion, it is not the elephant who is restless and rebellious. It is the human being who is powerful and fierce. I have written a small article titled "Under Elephants" (attached file) for your consideration. I hope that it may describe the more direct relationship between Thai people and elephants. Thank you so much.

Varinthorn Christopher

Monday, January 7, 2008

Harrell Fletcher's Winter Assignment

Social Practice students got the Winter Assignment from Harrell. Below is the email
"So for this assignment I'd like you all to do a project that involves (collaborates with or works with as a subject) a non-art type person or people, that has a public venue (which just means that some set of people from the general public can experience it without going to a special venue) and that you document it with at least one image and a simple text description that is then posted on your blog".

I decided to do a commercial for the Thai food cart. The theme is "Home Coming" which inspired by how I feel when I introduced myself to the owner. Like other Social Practice project I started by introduce myself & what I'm doing (but this time I spoke in Thai). Many times I found that people are sort of suspicious & afraid but the first thing he said to me is "Hey are you hungry? Sit. Let me make you something to eat". One sentense transferred me to the other side of the world, the side I was born & raised, the side that is my home. The owner happened to be a camera man from Thailand. He did many famous Thai movies. I am a bit embarrassed of my pathetic student short film. But I hope to get better soon.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Siamese Buckaroo Radio Episode one

Listen to The Siamese Buckaroo Radio Episode one from Khao Chae Here
But if you are lazy to go there below is the player. You can now download & listen to us through your i-pod or your phone. We are everywhere! Find us & Rss feed us at iTune, Podbean, Podcast Pickle, Podcast Alley & Podcast Directory. More new episode coming soon!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

New Year 2008

NEW YEAR 2008 Report from the Siamese Buckaroo Production.
We have our own You Tube channel now! Click on the blog title to visit.

Have you seen the new update of Khao Chae lately? If not check it out!
Also I might start posting something in Thai. But I know my main readers are English speakers so sorry English speakers for your inconvenience.

Chai Yo


วันนี้ (2 ม.ค.) สำนักพระราชวัง มีประกาศเรื่อง สมเด็จพระเจ้าพี่นางเธอ เจ้าฟ้ากัลยาณิวัฒนา กรมหลวงนราธิวาสราชนครินทร์ สิ้นพระชนม์ ความว่า

สมเด็จพระเจ้าพี่นางเธอ เจ้าฟ้ากัลยาณิวัฒนา กรมหลวงนราธิวาสราชนครินทร์ ได้เสด็จประทับรักษาพระอาการประชวร ณ อาคารเฉลิมพระเกียรติ โรงพยาบาลศิริราชพยาบาล ตั้งแต่วันที่ 15 มิ.ย.2550 ตามที่สำนักพระราชวังได้แถลงให้ทราบเป็นระยะแล้วนั้น แม้คณะแพทย์ได้ถวายการรักษาอย่างใกล้ชิดจนสุดความสามารถ พระอาการประชวรได้ทรุดลงตามลำดับ และได้สิ้นพระชนม์เมื่อเวลา 02.54 น. วันที่ 2 ม.ค.2551 รวมพระชันษา 84 ปี