smo

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  1. Or a placard hung on the front panier with words (I suggest in both Thai and English, one never knows, in case the ambulance happens to be run by foreigners, Singaporeans especially) to that effect, flanked by a couple of tiny flags one black/white stuck on each side.
  2. Just came back from a Songkran home visit with friends, a Thai couple and their daughter and her bf, to a village 25 kms out of Phrae. The young couple, daughter with bf, left after two days with their peers. Thanks to them I had a chance to go to the rapids in the Mae Yom national park nearby. Once the young people were gone, I was left to my own device. My thai friend the wife took the SUV out almost every day to go to class reunions, the husband left at home with me was content to lie down and be glued to his mobile, at least he doesn't smoke or drink. I think he was as happy as mum being away from the wife for a change. Asking him to go somewhere would get him to say that "it's too hot (are you crazy?) to step outside the house" and this is from someone who spends the rest of the year stuck in steamy (weather-wise that is) Bangkok. To get something for breakfast, sweet sticky rice along with some bananas and fresh soy milk for example, I had to rely on the kindness of one of the sister in laws who goes every morning to the village market, which opens and closes between 4 and 5 am. To get some thing I can eat for dinner I had to jump for the chance to go to the evening market, which is in the retail area of the moo baan, 6 kms from the house, that is if the SUV gets back in time. The rest of the time I couldn't eat their homecooked meals, which has kapi (shrimp paste) in every dish, and this is served 3 times a day. Never in my life I would have thought I'd have to walk around scavenging fruits from the trees! One time I took the whole gaggle of sisters/sis in laws, to a starbuck style coffee shop in town proper, and they turned it into their happy hour, downing endless chang bottles along with plates of buffalo wings (or a local version of that). Soon I started drinking at home with the men as well (and the women also joined in as well), endless shots of homebrew whiskies (notoriously high in alcohol content), at least at these gatherings there is something barbecued or other that I can eat. I think I'll die of boredom or starvation, whichever comes first, if I stay on longer - or my liver would just call it quit. A family drive somewhere - to the water reservoir for example, which happened once or twice during our 10 days visit - invariably had someone getting lost because they took a wrong turn, or were told to take a wrong turn. Then the whole convoy would simply halt and wait. That sure happened on the first day when we went to the rapids, but that was a bit further than their normal stomping grounds so at least I wouldn't blame it on their cluelessness at first. But soon I was glad that I didn't speak or understand much thai, amidst all that constant chatter; my ears were so thankful when all that died down at night, and I never thought that the sound of the gecko, "kack keh, kack keh" as if chiming the late night hours, could be so soothing. The first day after we came back to Bangkok - I was singing the Marseillaise on the journey home - I made numerous trips to stock up my refrigerator that the reception downstairs in my building thought I was having a party! (Yes, with I, me and myself.) Today the husband asked me if I'm going back next year, that got him a painful jab in the ribs.
  3. And the cherry on top is their newly renovated bathroom in the basement. Definitely a notch above Motel 6's! I was there this afternoon couldn't believe my own eyes so I whipped out my phone and snapped a pic. What you don't see in the photo are the new electronic toilet seats (a saner and simplified version of the japanese shenanigans one has to put up with at Terminal 21; this one does the job with just two separate WASH and BIDET functions, though at some point if you go overboard they simply shrug "is tis what you want?" and merge into one big jet! might as well...) And what you don't hear from the photo is Bach played in the background, I thought I had died and gone to Immig heaven! I liked it so much that I used it before during and after my travails in the office upstairs. Definitely something to look forward to comes next year pilgrimage! [Correction: this is at Chaeng Wattana , not CM. For some reason there is no quote button at the OP post so I couldn't quote from there.]
  4. Thanks Marc, for your kind words. Glad to be the first post that "broke you in" on this board, and welcome! Yeah, I do my best to cling on that "HIGH probability" that things usually don't happen the way we fantasize about. It's just the few percent that got away that are "killing me softly!" And at our/my age they're worth their weight in diamonds with each passing years. Again, tommy I agree with you. Matter of fact, just recently so, it has dawned on me that I wouldn't be able to find "true love" with a thai guy - or "in Asia," as you put it - simply for reason quoted above. It's like barking up the wrong tree! So forget about having deep, meaningful conversation the kind we have with friends in the States, the "meeting of the souls" so to speak. I look at the farang husband/thai wive couples and rack my brains to think of what kind of pillow talk they might be having at night. I would find them sitting at food court after shopping upstairs at BigC, all eyes on the filled-to-the-brink shopping cart, and wonder is that all there is? Part of the side-effects I'm still experiencing and which seems to be "psychedelic" (read psychotic) is that I still have to now and then pull myself away from a romantic fantasy that my mind left on its own device would try to pluck out of the songthaew episode; which is mind-warping in the same way of defining jealousy as "all the fun you THINK they had." Now I know what people mean when they say, "Pull yourself up." On the other hand I remember looking at myself in the mirror when I came home all haggard that fateful afternoon, and had to exclaim, "Ugh, you truly look like grandpa!" This bit of self-reflection surprisingly did a better job at calming me down than a fistful of Prozacs! Incidentally I just rewatched "My Fair Lady" last night. Poor Eliza, falling in love with an old "confirmed bachelor!" She got her heart broken when it was plain to see that personally he didn't care one wit about her. Broke her heart a second time when she made a return visit to Covent Garden and came to the realization that you can't go home again. The professor himself went through a similar emotional melt down when he returned home and got a taste of what it felt like when someone had walked out of your life. However his was not heartbreak, it's desolation alright that lacks the romantic element. He would suffer more I think simply because his ego was too big. Eliza would do alright, being the pragmatic kind - which was what had led her to seek his help at the first place. Funny that Shaw conceded that "what really happened" afterward was that she married Freddy and opened a flower shop funded by Col. Pickering. [And if you pressed him further, I bet Shaw would reveal, under bated breath, that Prof. Higgins sold his house and eloped with the colonel to India, with his mom's blessing. Wow, "wouldn't it be lovely?"] Sorry for yapping away on what seems unrelated topic. But truly what got me through the last few evenings was rewatching old romantic favorites while munching on heavily buttered popcorn. Of course you can guess which of these characters I identified myself with most in this instance? The one who sang "On the soi where you live..."
  5. Well, I wouldn't call my friends here moralistic...Let's just say they're a pragmatic bunch, after all they're the ones who pulled me up from the ditch! So I listened to the consensus to look at the numbers and calculate the odds which I have to admit is pretty high against the possibilities of "true" love, and learned to live with that. However, I agree with you, Tommy: Have a rough quickie, let's call it "Last Tango in BKK," since for guys my age, anything we do or happens to us at this stage in our lives seem to be the last-to-last call. All the more we need to be "a little shameless" because truly what is happening to us might just have enough time to happen once but not once more. Again the old idiom rings true, about rather to have loved and lost than not at all, that's what makes life worth living! Thats what was killing me, to have not grabbed the chance for one quickie with the handsome young one, to go through the courtship of love while it's still blind, to do the peacock dances, the romantic rendezvous, the honeymoon by the seaside, on and on - all the while telling myself "I have worked hard for this and damnit, I deserve it!" And if likely to find out that oh yeah, the romance does come with a price tag, then it would be time like you said to consider making the purchase (come to think of it, it doesn't really make much difference at this point... A bittersweet romance, ahhhh, the memory of which will make you smile when you expire your last breath: Priceless!) By not taking that chance, I have yanked myself back empty-handed to everyday life reality: the bus stop with a thousand faces, the traffic jam, the empty soi... There's no sweet, no romance - only that that reality now tastes a bit bitter, because a door has shut behind you. You know that there won't be anyone coming along anytime soon to sit opposite you on the songthaew and make you feel like Cinderella riding in that golden carriage. However you just keep looking.
  6. Final update - the State refund came on the 17th (3 days after filing); Federal the 24th (a week after filing). Courtesy of TaxAct, totally free of charge!
  7. Dear Bob, The moment you hear a comparison of Hacksaw Bridge to Moonlight, you know that it's time to fold it (this topic) right? I'm sure you know what I mean. For me the one ( actually two big) pieces of PC tokenism of the show was when the Directing and Score awards go to LA LA Land, instead of _________ (again I'm sure you can fill in the blank here, hint: just one word with 2 syllables.) Now that I've put in my two cents, you can close the thread. And treat yourself to another viewing of Moonlight, I assure you'll be delighted and got your time much better spent (than threading the topic here.) ps - Btw, when I hear about "hard-hitting movies for adults," Liam Neeson comes (or shall I say, sprints) to mind. I wonder the next Taken movie is number 5 or 50 in the series? For the moment, I think Kong the skull island would do (the hard-hitting) for now, if not then Logan. And can you explain why a movie is generally "more interesting" if based on a true story? I never got that....
  8. Ubonjoe, I truly sympathize with you when you have to time and time again explain about the income affidavit that US expats need to have notarized by their embassy, whenever a new forum member wants clarification regarding the legality of the document. It never fails to have some non-US members jump in at this instance to voice their frustration as to why US embassy doesn't require income verification while theirs does, with insinuation such as "ok, you guys want to protect you guys, right?" This is the gist of the matter, isn't it? Alright, this is how I understand the idea behind the notarization by our US embassy, using very plain language: supposed I, a US citizen, want an affidavit (something in writing) that reads "My dog is a black german shepherd". The embassy staff will have me swear that what I put down in writing is truly what my statement is all about. To put it plainer than plain, it wants me to really agree with (with clear understanding of) what I have put down on the document, that my true intention is to say that I have a black german shepherd, not that I prefer a white persian cat. It's not their job to verify that a) I have a dog or b ) that it is a german shepherd and c) that it is black. After you swear and nod your agreement, you and the staff would sign it, and the staff person would emboss the embassy stamp on the affidavit. And this is what your 50 dollars will get you. At the US embassy, repeat. Anyway, if your embassy wants to verify your income, then call them on the carpet and ask why it does? Don't ask us why ours does not, or shout out warnings that we better prepare for the day blah blah blah... Thanks but no, thanks!
  9. Believe it or not, I was planning in the next couple of days to stalk the soi where the young man got off the songthaew; but then I had the remaining wisdom to first ask for advice on this board. Am I so glad I did! I truly needed all the gong-banging and the klieg lights glaring at that simple age equation (60-20=40) that you guys were shouting down from the rafters with heartfelt gusto and no ridicule whatsoever (well maybe laced with a bit of sarcasm, but even that was welcome!). They glared so hard into my dimmed consciousness that finally the scales fell from my eyes, so to speak. It's like you took me to behind the scene and replayed the scenario on the little monitor (sorry for heavy-handed Hollywood metaphors here). Objectively speaking, I'm just curious as to how quickly the kid got me in his crosshairs. Yeah, he might or might not be gay, but that doesn't really matter in the world of moneyboy/girls doesit? Either he's got his gaydar high up, or my lust was too "naked?" His office dress code might have got me fooled for a moment (but that's all it took) telling me he was not a) a moneyboy and b ) that he's at a decent ie legit job and therefore he must be innocent (and wholesome and what else). That may be true but that doesn't mean he's a virgin in regards to sugardaddies. His good looks might have procured him with more opportunities (and experiences) than his station in life allowed. I mean the transition from seeing me noticing him to tagging me an easy prey happened almost instantaneously! Most of us, including yours truly, certainly have walked down this path before, but somehow and sometimes we/I forget. It might have to do with advancing age blurring the rough edges of everyday reality, it might also be something else to do with the mirage that seems to be looming larger and larger as we get closer and closer to.....the idea of having a partner in whose arms we will let go off our last breath is a very real and painful ("I don't want to die alone") preoccupation that some of us here I am sure have begun to contemplate. However the main lesson here is regardless at what stage in life one finds oneself - the earlier the better- don't be a deer caught in the headlights, take control of the moment, take chances and make things happen because if you don't, nobody else (or mommy or daddy) will do it for you. And worse, you might spend the rest of your life regretting it! (After all is said and done, I still wish that I HAD followed him off the songthaew, come what may!) I'm calling for a round of drinks to all those who chipped in (wouldn't it be great if we were having this discussion in a bar?) You have pulled me back up to the surface and for all your dry-eyed wisdom and words of comfort this is just what the doctor ordered. Thank you so very much - I'm gonna have a much needed good night sleep tonight (to the soundtrack of Annie singing "Tomorrow, tomorrow...") "Fortune favors the bold" right on!
  10. I know this is really a glitch of the mind but I need help, seriously. I'm a gay Asian-American male in my early 60s still active and fit. [If this subject turned you off then please stop reading and spare ourselves the nonsense, thank you.] This past Monday I was going for my midday swim at the local swimming pool. When I got on the songthaew a young Thai guy also got on at the same time and sat opposite me. I hardly paid attention to him, my mind was on something else. Then it was an instance of "me noticing you noticing me." He is in his early twenty, cleanly dressed as office worker, white shirt, black tie, long black pants and shoes, with an id badge thrown around his neck. Very handsome. He was holding some document envelopes in one hand and on the other a small drink from 7/11 that he was still drinking from. Very soon he seemed to be beaming at me, though demurely but definitely interested in catching my glances. My reaction was also demure, slyly letting he know that I was also reacting to his attention, positively. I then told myself that I will follow him wherever he was going to get off. And here are the steps that I didn't take: 1) at one point he winked at me, I did not acknowledge that, or I did with a very faint turnup of the mouth, all this time I was pretending I was staring some space past his shoulders, not looking at him directly - 2) when he pushed the stop request button with a very clear body signal that he was going to get off, again I did not react decisively - 3) when he stepped out of the carriage and stood at the back running board waiting for the songthaew to come to a complete stop, I was still glued on my seat -4) last chance when he came to the front to pay, he was practically standing behind my back as I turned around to look, still I did nothing. It was like I was having an out of body experience watching him crossing to the other side of the small soi and walk away, out of my life. That was two days ago. Since then I can't stop rewinding this sequence and alternating the ending: ok, where should I be leaping off after my guy? step 1, 2, 3 or 4? Yesterday I even loitered for some time at the bus stop and later walked into BigC a few steps away to see if I could spot him in those banking branches. In my room I feel very alone, which rarely ever happens; at night I even got scared, afraid to go to sleep for fear of reliving the episode where I would have to make THE decisive move (needless to say I haven't been sleeping too well.) As stated at the start, I know this is a trick of the mind, like the car engine got stuck in one gear, unable to switch to another. When I told my Thai teacher about this, her remark was that I was a coward. She didn't say in so many words, just "you're not brave, you won't be able to run any business." It's true, all my life whenever it comes to romantic decisions/encounters I always went into a passive trance, in which decisions are eventually made by mere indecisiveness/inertia and I've got to stand outside looking in (I vaguely know where this comes from, "you're don't deserve anything, nobody wants you" was the mantra of my childhood, courtesy of my stepmon, but we won't get into this.) I should have learned my lesson by now, but I didn't. I remember little voices coming to my head as I watched the young man getting off, "oh, this is still far from where I need to go," "oh, he's skinny (actually he's not, he's still a strapping young man, not fully grown) not my type!" Anyway all the negative remarks came piling on to prevent me from jumping to action. Also, during the course of us exchanging glances, I did not make any direct acknowledgement (let alone a friendly opening "sawatdee krap") that okay, we're "in", neither to him nor, more importantly, to myself. Rather the prevalent mode was "just let it ride"; the voice that says " get off and follow him" was very faint, and finally stifled by the last minute trivial remarks. As I got older, I have learned one aspect of making decisions: whatever decision you have to make, you'll have to consider beforehand what was going to be the worse outcome, and are you going to be able to live with it? What I did not (have time to) consider in this instance - and this is crucial - was how I was going to handle the consequence of the non-action course. Which is exactly what I have to deal with in the aftermath at the present time. I don't think this is any twisted pathology that needs psychological expertise, however I seemed to be heading toward depression ("You'll never see him again, you miss your last chance of happiness, your life is over, etc.") Incidentally I am posting on this general forum rather than the gay sub-forum because I think this sort of experience is rather universal, sexual orientation has little to do with it. I'm normally a positive person, but as I have fallen into this deep funk, I'm really reaching out for help. I welcome all constructive inputs, especially members who have experienced with this kind of life mishaps please give advice. Thank you all in advance and wishing you a good day,
  11. FWIW, I went through quite a bit of hand-wringing over the bank interest/1099-INT item. The fact that I contacted my bank not once, but twice regarding the issue shows my duly concern over the matter. Also part of my taking so long to do the tax was to calculate my Thai bank interests (updating the passbooks which I rarely do so when I first put one in I had it faced down - getting the IRS end of year currency conversion rate - and doing the math which came to somewhere in the vicinity of 85 usd total) so when TaxAct asked for it I had all the numbers ready. But it never did. And truth be told, I was more than once on the verge of filling in the non-existent 1099-INT from my US bank only to back off at the gate because I didn't want to be accused of fraud ("why did you make up a non-existing document? you signed to be telling the truth didn't you?"- voice of IRS). At the end of the day, I under reported my income by less than 100 usd. Nah, I won't lose sleep over this, but I'm more excited than ever about going back to the States and wringing the neck of the teller who insisted that I left off the 10% tax holding. But considering I won't be going back there anytime soon, by the time I land in US soil next he probably has left his post to become our next POTUS. Oh, well, but thank you so much for deciphering the bank interest issue for me and yeah, next year when comes tax time, I will definitely do the right thing. [An interesting sidenote - what if in a few years, I will start getting "slightly" senile and won't be able to do all this on my own? Time to check out the legal services advertissements on Thaivisa webpage?]
  12. After much shrafenfreuden (spelling? help! it's german for angst) I finally got my returns filed successfully thanks to my NBF(new best friend) TaxAct. I initially started with TaxACt, but then switched to TurboTax because it was more familiar to me, however right off the bat TurboTax wanted to charge for federal (filing 1040NR) simply because I declared my domicile abroad. So I went back to TaxAct and started all over again. The detour with TurboTax helped me familiarize myself with taxing matters again, so the second time with TaxAct was a smooth ride, even enjoyable one thanks to its great user friendly interface. It also does great with the "morning after" ie what to do next to check on your return status ect. once filed and accepted. I can't recommend TaxAct enough. My initial concerns were due to this being the first time I did return as an expat. My bank interest also threw me in a loop because I wanted to do the right thing and declare even though the sum is 10 bucks and some cents. That necessitated a couple of calls to my US credit union to firts, learn, second, confirm that they don't issue a 1099-INT for interest less than 10 dollars. The other issue that I did not have to deal with was interest on my thai bank accounts (which is also not much, but more than 10 bucks.) As it turned out (going through the steps with TaxAct), if I had less than 200K usd "offshore" then the IRS is not interested except for the FBAR thing (I have the feeling I might be wrong about or have misunderstood this matter). [re FBAR I read somewhere that they have moved the deadline to file to coincide with April 15?] In summary, my returns were filed as 1040A and CA 540NR, at no charge with TaxAct and took me one evening to go through all the steps, and this morning to click on the e-file button. (The prep time for me is another matter). So thank you all again for your advice and inputs, especially khuns skatewash and gk10002000 for your very detailed explanations. Much appreciated. After all said and done, I'm glad for having gone through this refresher tax return filing experience. Wishing you all a good day.
  13. Somewhere earlier on this thread it’s been mentioned that filing a state 540NR is rather cumbersome (when do you live in, when do you live out?) so the lazy in me just wanted to avoid it if I could. You remember correctly, I only file this year (state or otherwise) simply because I wanted to get back the tax withholding that I meted out unwittingly during my IRA withdrawal transaction. Bottom line I’m not averse to telling the truth, and as I have filed FBAR last couple of years in a timely manner, I’m hiding nothing. Fact is, there isn’t much to hide to begin with: my credit union told me that they’re not sending me a 1099-INT this year because my interest falls below the minimum of 10 bucks! It’s just that I haven’t filed tax returns for a number of years and kinda lost touch with what goes in and what goes out so to speak. Maybe my questions made the matter seem more complicated that it is, and therefore it sounded like I had something to hide. (And now it sounds like I’m on the defensive, but I have no reason to be. Just wanted to un-muddle the water, shall we say ) Regarding interest on my foreign bank accounts, more or less the same story, maybe a bit more than 10 bucks (I never bothered to figure out the amounts in dollar), but nowhere near enough to bump me above the hoi polloi of the do-not-bother-to-file category; so normally I would go year after year without filing returns - but in the future I will make effort to file nevertheless, as the concensus here says it’s better to do so. Again thank you all for chipping in, especially skatewash for taking the time to give me the lowdown on the situation.
  14. I am using TurboTax for both federal and state returns. It was smooth sailing until it asked about any “foreign financial assets” I answered “Yes” for “Do you have any…” and “No” for “Did you live in a foreign country?” Are these the proper answers (as opposed to correct)? The reason I answered “No” to the latter was I don’t want to file the 540NR for state return, as I still maintain a US address (as far as my US bank is concerned.) The truth is yes, I’ve been living in Thailand since 2014. FWIW, I have been doing FBAR for the last couple of years so I’m good on that. I guess I will have to report the interest of my Thai bank accounts to the Interest and Dividends section of the return as stated in one of the screenshots?
  15. Thank you so much for taking the time and giving a very clear yet detailed account of the tax filing process involving IRA distribution. I really appreciated it (especially the bit about what if the software shows "no refund for you.") I'm still kicking myself for not knowing better when I did the withdrawal, if I had - and even if I had not, I could still have checked around (meaning seeking advice on this forum) first - so that I would have had the matter of tax witholdings in my hand before showing up at the bank teller window. But as you said, it's all water under the bridge now, hence my quest for a tax return. I have contacted my bank since my last posting, and luckily after a couple of phone mishaps (calling them on the weekend, thailand time, etc..), gotten in contact with a very helpful customer rep in the IRA department. Immediately while we were on the phone, she emailed me the form which she said had been sent out early mid January. (Concurrently at about the same time, just before I left the US I had made a change of address, but according to the rep not in time so the 1099R form was still sent to my US address.) She stayed on the phone to make sure I could open the attachment, as it was sent through secure encryption. Luckily I have two laptops, the "young" -read intel i7 -one that I brought back from the states could not/would not open it, but the "older" - much older, read pentium duo core - one, which by virtue of having been around the block I guess, opened the attachment with nary a hiccup. So there I was at 2am bangkok time, basking in the blissful knowledge that I had finally in my possession all the banking info necessary that tax software requires, and dithering on instead of going to bed! One lesson I learned from this experience was that you can no longer trust customer reps to have the right amount of knowledge to give you proper services as expected. Or more to the point, you can no longer rely on them to do what best for you. So one has to prepare to be armed with as much ammunition as one can before undertaking any business whether that's got to do with either large, or small institutions. Again, thank you skatewash for all the trouble. I will certainly keep you posted with my progress. Cheers:-)