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patterns of ink

How fruitless to be ever thinking yet never embrace a thought... to have the power to believe and believe it's all for naught. I, too, have reckoned time and truth (content to wonder if not think) in metaphors and meaning and endless patterns of ink. Perhaps a few may find their way to the world where others live, sharing not just thoughts I've gathered but those I wish to give. Tom Kapanka

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Let's Go OUT-TAKE Tonight...

We returned from Chicago Wednesday evening. It was great to see our daughter and spend time traipsing around the Windy City, but as always… it was also great to be home. For people in the Midwest, trips to the Chicago are comparable to Easterners going to NYC. I realize they would say that’s like comparing oranges and Big Apples, but there are similarities. Lots to do--famous people, fantastic shows, shopping, museums, and hundreds of one-of -a-kind restaurants.

I mentioned we ate at Ed Debevic’s. That night, the sassy waitress opened her table act with, “Hey, you! George Lukas at the end of the table! Pay attention. I’m ’splainin’ the menu, and I won’t repeat it!” (The shtick at Ed Debevic’s is treating the customers rudely. She was about the fifth stranger to make a “George Lukas“ remark since I’ve gone gray. As I was leaving, she said, “Just be glad you don‘t have that goiter thing goin‘ on.”
I laughed out loud because those were my very thoughts on the subject two years ago.) On our last day, we had lunch at the Grand Lux, which is surprisingly affordable considering how swanky it is. What a place! I highly recommend it for lunch.

Speaking of unique dining experiences, before viewing the featured Youtube clip below, I should warn you that the end of the video alludes to an unusual menu item I learned about in Thailand. (You may want to see the Parts I and II and the clip called "A World of Class" to provide a context for these“out-takes.”)

Though the medical mission trip and the video are not simply a"cultural experience," it was my hope to touch the five senses in providing a "sense" of Thailand and the hill tribe life as well as the team’s experience. Even “out-takes” can help do that. As explained on the Patterns of Ink Youtube page, I mean no disrespect to the people seen in the out-takes. These are just "moments" that were not usable in the main video. Toward the end of the clip our Akah friend, John, provides a TASTE of the culture he has known all his life.

At one Lahu village, I was confronted by several barking dogs as I took pictures of the hut they had been sleeping under. It was the first and only time dogs (and we'd seen hundreds of them) barked at me. John said, "See this is what happens when you don't eat dog. Too many watch dogs--not enough to watch." [He gestured toward huts with nothing fit to burgal.] “Whenever one of my Lahu friends has a dog go missing, they think I took it to eat.” He laughs, and I ask. "So they don't ever ask you to watch their dog when they're out of town. He replies, "No. Dey don't ask me dat." [He laughs again.]

"Do you name your dogs?" I ask. "No. Just call dem 'dog' we don't keep dem dat long to get to know dem." (I wish I had videotaped that exchange. It's funny to hear him tell it. As you know from past posts, we have a pet Westie named Kip. We are very attached to him. Millions of Americans spend billions each year on pets. That "cultural fact" is equally hard to grasp for the Akah.)

In the Akah villages the only “kept dogs” are raised for food--just like other small livestock. The dogs don't interact like pets with the humans around them (any more than the chickens and pigs do). They are a wild looking non-breed. You would not be tempted to pet these animals if you saw them. (If you'd rather not watch that part, it does not come in the video until the last two minutes.)

"Some Out-Takes and Cultural Delicacies"

I first met John in my office last summer when he was visiting the states. He speaks English, Akah, three dialects of Lahu, and Chinese well enough to converse when he crosses the border to visit Akah tribes there. He does understand our American sensitivities, which is why he considered my question hard to answer.
(The original “field draft" of these thoughts are in the January archives.)


Blogger Josie said...

Tom, this is wonderful...! The little girl carrying her brother was so adorable!

They look like really happy people.

Your trip to Chiago sounded like fun too. I have always wanted to see Chicago. I imagine it to be very art deco looking.

It was neat to hear your voice.

13/4/08 3:58 PM  
Blogger patterns of ink said...

I hope you also had time to see the more important parts of the video. This one was sort of a "lighter look" at the project.

Based on what I've read about your life in Vancouver, BC, you'd love Chicago. And yes, there are places are very art deco--the Grand Lux, for instance. My daughter and I were talking about that over lunch Wednesday.
Thanks for stopping by.

13/4/08 4:32 PM  
Blogger bettygram said...

Your outtakes were very interesting.

13/4/08 5:15 PM  
Blogger patterns of ink said...

Thanks for stopping by, Betty. I hope you'll check out the other clips as well. Tell Dr. John I said Hi.

13/4/08 6:38 PM  
Blogger Dr.John said...

I skipped the part on preparing the dog. But my wife says she didn't.
I have been looking at the other videos one by one and have learned a lot.

14/4/08 4:56 PM  
Blogger patterns of ink said...

Dr. John,
You know the old saying, if we saw hot dogs being made we'd never eat them. I know folks who have grown up on "the farm" who have a seen chickens running around with their heads cut off, etc. I'm no vegetarian, but I'll admit we've become so far removed from the sources of our various meats, that we don't often think about the realities behind providing "meat for the family"... but that is just how the Akah look at this subject.
Is Bettygram your Betty? I wasn't sure because of her profile location not being in the U.P., but I figure you may be close to the state line. =)

14/4/08 10:34 PM  
Blogger heiresschild said...

hi Tom, this was very interesting, educational and informative, and i love your humor pertaining to some of the photos. i'm reading from your current post back to the previous ones i've missed over the past couple of weeks.

15/4/08 5:00 PM  
Blogger patterns of ink said...

Thanks for stopping by. We've been thinking about you and praying for you during this difficult time of helping a friend in need.
(I'm glad to have brought a smile ant that you got the humor =)

15/4/08 5:05 PM  
Blogger Nancy said...

Tom, I love your sense of humor! I even watched and listened to "da dog" segment. I am delighted that you were able to add humor to your trip and allow those around you to enjoy your humor. This had to be one of the memoriable parts of their trip. What would they do without YOU? "Bad boys, Bad boys"!!!

The entire series has been educational, enlightning , and entertaining. You are the video "KING" or did they change it to dvd "KING"?

I grew up on a small farm and remember many chickens with their heads cut off, running around the barnyard. I never thought "yuck", at the time and really enjoyed the fried chicken that was served from the "chicken running around with it's head cut off"! But dog... that's a different story. You know how much I love my Elmo. It is just a very different culture and I thank you for sharing that culture with us.

15/4/08 9:44 PM  
Blogger patterns of ink said...

In the unedited version, John had more details and also told everyone that I had "some dog" a few nights before at the wonderful banquet he and his Akah wife spread before us.
I can say that I'd take a good frog leg any day over that chewy delicacy. But the night of our banquet, our three Thai taxi-truck drivers took home all the extra dog--they love it, too.
Your Elmo... our Kip... are an entirely different matter I agree =).

15/4/08 10:30 PM  
Blogger the walking man said...

Tom, it has been so in this nation before that dog was eaten and horse and anything else that was meat right up the food chain.

Down here we never let our dog out alone because small dogs like yours and ours are stolen to blood pit bulls for fighting. This would set me on a road of revenge, the dog in our house has paid its dues and deserves it retirement from the wild.

Yet ten sparrows caught in a net do make the base for a fine stew.



17/4/08 3:57 AM  
Blogger patterns of ink said...

Long time no see, but I understand... it's been a while since I've walked the cyberhood as well.
"Sparrow Stew" now that's even creepier than the canine casserole John described. =)
Glad to hear your little guy is doing fine. I may be on your side of the state for family business this weekend or next.

17/4/08 11:19 PM  
Blogger the walking man said...

If you're coming down this way give me a shout on the blog and I will e-mail you a phone #. Coffee is not out the realm of my possibilities. Friday may be a bit of a burner though for a few months.



18/4/08 3:06 AM  
Blogger patterns of ink said...

I may just do that sometime. This trip, if it happens... will be quick up near Port Huron, but some time when I have more time to drive to your area, I may just do that. (I had not seen this comment when I wrote the one in the post above.)

19/4/08 9:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

George Lucas doesn't compare to you, Dad. :) Happy Birthday! -Kim

22/4/08 1:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

George Lucas doesn't compare to you, Dad. :) Happy Birthday! -Kim

22/4/08 1:34 PM  

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