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May 29, 2003

so what is it all about?

i really need to learn to focus on one thing at a time. i always try to do multiple things at once, and when it takes too long to do all of them, i get bored before i can finish them, then i just start a whole slew of new things to do, only to repeat the cycle over again.

after work today, i went to barnes & noble intending to study GRE. while making my way to get coffee, i passed by this memoir/autobiography stack, and a book caught my attention. it was the author's name, augusten burroughs, that did it. i picked it up simply because i wanted to know if he's in any way related to william s. burroughs, the guy who wrote naked lunch (and whose books i'm always curious to read but can never stand for more than a few pages, btw).

well, i ended up reading the book until the last page, which took me about 4.5 hours. so yeah, i didn't succeed in my good intention of memorizing GRE vocabs afterall. and in the end i didn't even find out, or care, whether or not he's related to william s. burroughs.

the book was called "dry: a memoir", and it was about this alcoholic guy, who's a big-shot copywriter in a big ad agency in new york, who struggled to stop drinking, only to sink back down after a few months of successful recovery because the only guy he ever loved finally died of aids. a pretty depressing read, even more so because you know it's real. it's amazing that he can convey all these horror stories and still manage to put a lot of humor in them.

above all, though, it's an honest account of someone who still tries to get up and go on, even after going through so many falls in hell. this is a guy who was left by his mother to live with an insane psychiatrist and raped by a pedophile when he's 13, and unconsiously tried to kill himself slowly by drinking a liter of dewar pushed by a few lines of coke on a daily basis for years. and yet found enough strength to force himself to let go and go on. it's about enduring real life.

not like some commercialized "reality-tv" crap out there, which tries to portray 'reality' as some guy picking and choosing a girl out of several bimbos with boob jobs over a course of one week in a mansion somewhere in venice, while millions of people watch them flirt shamelessly on screen.

well, i'm not gonna spoil the story, just in case anyone wants to read the book. but one thing i found interesting is that augusten (the guy in the book), succeeded in his first phase of sobering up after the 30-day rehab and AA meetings in the weeks following because he felt that for the first time he could be himself, even with all his baggage and his craziness, and still be accepted in the group. he could be honest to others and to himself, without the fear of being rejected or feeling worthless, because these people went through the same things as he did, and they understood.

this reminded me of margaret cho. i watched one of her filmed shows, "i'm the one that i want," a few days ago. in this comedy monologue, margaret basically concluded that all she wanted was to be accepted as she is. you can't get more minority than being a bisexual, overweight asian-american woman in the entertainment business. she was forced to go on extreme diets by the producers of the 1994 "all american girl" tv show because they said that her face looked too chubby on screen, and they hired a professional to teach her to be more 'asian' in her manners.

so i can't help but wonder, what is it about acceptance and a sense of belonging that it is so important to people, that the lack of these things can lead to such horrifying acts of self destruction?

May 26, 2003

if i were a font...

for all the font geeks out there, here's a cute little quiz for you from fontlover...
if you were a font, what font would you be?

well, as for me, here's what i'm supposed to be:

May 25, 2003

after 5 years...

do we accomplish anything with reformation? read what goenawan mohamad has to say about it...

today at the seminar i learned many things about indonesia in this time of reformation — the problems and issues, as well as some insights into the possible solutions — all this, of course, is just a personal summary of what i understood from the discussions, and not meant to be representative in any way.

but as much as i want to write more, i'm too sleepy right now to do anything... so maybe tomorrow, k? (see, told ya this topic wouldn't go too well with steamed lobsters!)

june 8, 2003

after more than 2 weeks, i only manage to remember one thing from the seminar, and that is (aduh pake bhs indonesia aja deh ye, lebih gampang kayaknya...): ternyata niat baik aja ngga cukup, karena yg jadi masalah utama adalah pelaksanaannya.

contoh: thn 89 pemerintah ngeluarin tap mpr yg mengatur dan merencanakan pembangunan pendidikan di indonesia secara bertahap sampai taun 2020... very similar to what malaysian gov't did to build their education in the 80s; also known as the 'malaysia 2020' plan. look at where they are now, and compare it to where we are.

tap mpr ini juga memutuskan bahwa 20% dari apbn dan apbd akan dialokasikan untuk pendidikan. surprising, huh? karena nyatanya anggaran negara untuk pendidikan sekarang ini hanya sekitar 3% (kemana ya, yg 17% sisanya?) — bandingkan dgn negara maju spt amerika, yg anggaran pendidikannya sekitar 15%.

for some reasons, all these good plans that some people in the gov't thought up, that have even gone so far as to be made into a law, never came into reality. why is that?


oh man, stuffed myself with so much food today, i think might just broke this year's personal record! and since i had been almost constantly munching (almost continuously) for 8 hours, it's hard to stop. now i'm working my way down the big bag of gummi cherries i got on friday.

the thing is that i didn't even plan on going to this party after the seminar. i already had a generous helping of some yummy sambel goreng ati + es campur for lunch before the presentations, so i wasn't planning on eating again so soon.

but whaddaya know, at the party (that i was dragged to), the nice host (who was a very talented cook, and can cook really mean indo dishes, btw) already prepared 2 big trays of freshly steamed lobsters. now, who can seriously say no to that?

after the lobster came the fish... and the rice and krupuk + sambel... and the pudding... and the fruits... and the bubur ketan... it feels just like back home; people sitting on the floor in a circle, laughing and talking while eating with their hands. when was the last time i did that?

so yeah, as it is pretty obvious by now... i don't regret coming to the party at all, even if it means adding one or two more pounds. heheheh... i still have a few more weeks to go before summer anyway... and then i should probably make it a point not to pig out like that to be able to fit into my summer tank tops. in the meantime, who cares... :P

anyway, the point of this entry is not even about my shameless eating behavior. it's about something much more significant, so much so that now that i think about it, maybe i have to create a separate entry for it, since it doesn't pair well at all with trivial food stories.

May 23, 2003

YM sucks

argghhh... so annoying! when i first installed YM for OS X, it worked fine, until i logged off and tried connecting again — this time it didn't want to accept my username and/or password. strange thing is, i can login to my email using the exact same username and password just fine. i tried uninstalling and re-installing a few times and it still didn't work. wtf is wrong with YM??!! ...and i was in the middle of chatting with my sister in jakarta, too! x(

well, alright... i just created a new account... it's really not worth it to spend any more time on that old, f*cked up one.

rainy friday

lalala... and friday (friiidayy)... is the last day... and then it's w.e.e.k.e.n.d... it's weekend... *singing arling & cameron's song: w.e.e.k.e.n.d*

it's cold and raining again today, but i don't really care... it's the first friday of summer hours! woohooo!!! off at 1:00 every friday until end of august! and monday is memorial day, so no work for 4 days, beginning in about 2 hours!

can't concentrate to do any work right now... definitely the direct result of too much caffeine and all this friday excitement. hmm... i guess i still have to force myself to do at least one productive work-related activity. ok, more coffee and then back to work.

today's links: check out wendy's new section on food... it's so funny! :)
oh, and if you didn't already know this, project gutenberg has some awesome collection of classic readings that you could download for free...

May 22, 2003

what's it like next year?

much went on these past few days. many of my friends graduated last week, including my cousin last sunday, which means various graduation parties and farewells that will continue for at least the next 2 weeks.

last night was the first time in a week that i can go straight home after work. so i used this opportunity to finally walk the five blocks to do laundry. i was in desperate need to have some decent clothes to wear to work for the lack of choices in clean ones (been wearing faded old t-shirts and jeans that don't quite comply even with the company's casual dress code).

boston_evening_sm.jpgso anyway, after dropping off my laundry at the laundromat, i took my time walking back, enjoying the light drizzle and the dim light of sunset as it illuminated the old apartment buildings and their little colorful spring gardens on the front.

as i was walking, i remembered one of my friends who just graduated told me how it's finally time for him to go home and wake up from this ephemeral dream of our so-called life here. which then reminded me of a forgotten fact that yes, my real life is not here, either. it will not start until i go home, and i've been putting it on hold for the past 9 years; all the time saying that i will go home someday, without ever feeling the need to specify when someday is.

my work visa will expire next year in july, and will not be extendable unless my employer sponsors me for a greencard, which i'm pretty sure they will, if only i ask. i never ask, though... and i doubt i will. i never picture having my future here. i want to go home, yet it always makes me anxious to think about it. but i realize i can't postpone it any longer; i'm simply running out of time.

of course, if all goes well with my grad school plan, i will still be here for another 2-3 years from now. still, the pressure of having a more concrete plan for the future is there. and what if i didn't get in to the program? then what would it be like next year?

*paranoid mode on*

May 15, 2003


check out this cool prototyping tool for sketching out your site ideas and hyperlink them... very useful, eh? esp in the early stages, and most of all for those clients who could never understand the difference between prototype and final deliverable.

here is a screenshot of a sketch sample. go ahead, download and try it for yourself.

May 13, 2003

taking a break

after all the studying and essay-writing and work, this afternoon i decided that i deserve a break... preferably a fun one. so, to entertain myself, i did this for harry's collab project and this for xpsession...

it feels good to design for fun every once in a while... :)

newsflash: after a looong time of being offline, we're here forums launched it's new beta site yesterday... oh, i can't tell you how happy i am that it's finally back!

May 11, 2003


uhm... sorry, but due to the amount of stuff i have to do in the next 2 weeks, i'd have to be off of blogging for a while. so, there'd be no continuation to the nyc trip story as promised...

but here are a few fun links to make it up:
check out the archive of boring3d for some funny images, a new edition of creativebehavior, halfempty magazine, and an interesting article by emha ainun nadjib about inul, our latest indonesian phenomenon... enjoy! ;)

May 09, 2003

nyc trip to be cont...

whoa, i didn't even realize that the nyc trip entry has become so long. and i'm not even nearly done yet! and i swear they're all true! while listening to the stories, i couldn't help but think that maybe new yorkers in general do have a more exciting life than the rest of us, just for the fact that they're surrounded by a gazillion kinds of people everyday.

there are at least 2-3 other stories i want to write here, cuz otherwise i'd just forget. hmm... maybe i'll do it in installments... the 2nd one should be up by tomorrow... *crossing fingers*

May 08, 2003

nyc trip

just came back from nyc a few hours ago. there was the annual company meeting at the ny office i had to go to. there were 4 of us, and it was the first time i travelled with my co-workers. at first i was kinda iffy about the whole idea of having to spend extended hours with them, but it turned out to be a lot of fun!

the hotel & the restaurant...

we stayed at the paramount, a funky boutique hotel in times square. oh, i just love that place! when i waited in line to check in, enjoying the sight of some really cool-looking retro furnitures at the lobby, some 80s disco music was blasting from the speakers, and i just can't help thinking that i should be holding a martini glass or something... it felt like i was hanging out in a club instead of a hotel's lobby. the elevators interior came in different colors; blue, purple, red, green and orange. the colored lighting was very dramatic, that it's kinda hard to have your eyes open inside the elevator. our rooms were really cute and comfy, with really nice chairs that i would just love to steal for my apt!

our hosts were kind enough to treat us to dinner that night to da nico, a cozy italian restaurant in little italy with an outdoor garden dining area, where they served unbelievably delicious, authentic italian dishes and fabulous wine. i still have very vivid memories of how good everything tasted... it's ridiculous, i mean, even our free bonus of fruits and fried dough at the end of the meal were good!

the waiters had thick italian accents and were very friendly. they called all their female customers bella... and apparently they keep themselves entertained by humoring their customers. me, for example. i was just looking around searching for the restroom, when a waiter passed by. unsuspectingly, i asked him where the bathroom was, and he answered, in all seriousness, "i'm sorry, bella, but we don't have any restroom. we're under construction right now, and you would have to find some other place if you need to go. there are a few restaurants around here that you could try." i just looked at him, trying to look for signs that he was just joking. but he just stared back innocently, until i said, "aw, c'mon, please tell me you're joking. you must have a restroom, right?" seeing my desperate expression, he finally laughed and gave me directions. but, it didn't end there. as i was making my way quickly to the potty, i passed our waiter, and recognizing me, he stopped me and asked where i was going. i answered, and he said, "why are you going that way? the restroom is the other way!" "oh really?" i said, and already made half-a-turn toward the direction he pointed, when he said, "yes bella, it's under those trees right there." yup, quite an entertaining group of waiters, indeed.

after dinner, i called some of my friends and we met up at the hotel. we ended up hangin out with my co-workers and some of their friends at the hotel's bar, which was kinda small but cute. the walls and ceilings were literally full of all kinds of chalk drawings and writings... i tried rubbing the chalk off just out of curiosity, but it wouldn't come off. i guess they put another layer of stuff over the chalk to protect it from people like me. :P

paul hammer...

there were this couple who told really funny stories, you'd think they came out straight from a seinfeld episode. they've been living in nyc for about 7-8 years, and during their first few years, they lived in some pretty crappy, ridiculously tiny apts in manhattan. one particularly funny story was when they lived in this tiny 1-bedroom near soho, that wasn't even really a 1-bedroom, cuz it just had the main room and a small loft space up a few stairs, with no doors whatsoever except for the little semi-door in the kitchen that separated the kitchen sink and burners from the shower, which closely resembled a phone-booth. if you're so inclined, you could practically take shower while flipping your burger for dinner.

ok, so now you can picture how tiny the apartment was. oh and btw, they were paying a dirt-cheap rent (for ny standard of such a strategic location, of course) of $1,350 for that little place ('why?' is my only question). there were 3 official occupants at the time, but at one point for 2 weeks, there were four people living there. yes, 4 people. the couple, who lived in the loft; the roommate, who lived in the main room and slept on the sofa; and one other person who basically lived on the floor, right between the sofa and the front door.

the fourth one was a friend of a friend of a friend who came claiming that he was from london, and was gonna stay just for a few days until he could find an apartment in the city. his name was paul hammer. on the 2nd day he lived there, he added his name on their mailbox and changed their answering machine to include his name, too.

by the end of the first week, he didn't show any intention to move out, but bought a whole bunch of spices instead. now, you have to understand that spices mean longevity. you don't buy spices like oregano, bay leaves and such, if you only intend to stay for a few days. spices mean serious cooking in the privacy of your own home. so, given the fact that he bought spices, and started to hang up his wet laundry at every possible hooks 'n nooks he could find around the apt, incl. the stairs and the couple's loft bed, naturally the couple wanted him to be out as soon as possible. especially since he never even offered to pay any percentage of the rent. but because he's a friend of a friends' friend, they thought to give it a few more days before they would say anything.

then came the day when paul hammer locked out the other roommate.

one night, he borrowed the other roommate's key, telling him that he'd certainly be back by the time he came home. well, when the roommate came home, paul hammer wasn't there, so he waited and waited and waited... but paul hammer never showed up with the key. so the poor roommate, who was very tired cuz he worked at a local tv station with late-night shift and really needed to sleep, finally went to his parents house. now that was the last straw. the next day, he packed up all ph's belonging into boxes —spices and all— and told him in no uncertain terms that he had to get out at that very moment.

it was uncomfortable, cuz it turned out that he never actually started looking for an apt yet. but after a few hours of waiting for his friend to pick him up, paul hammer finally left, leaving with them his huge phone bills to london (that they finally had to pay cuz there's no way to track him down), and they got his mails and voice-messages for almost a year afterwards. infact, just a few months ago, the couple got a voice-message at their new place, asking for paul hammer!!! isn't that hysterical? he just doesn't wanna go away! well, they've moved several times, but always forwarded their phone number, so i guess that's how it happened. but isn't it exactly like something you would see in a sitcom, though?

May 05, 2003

smoking ban

the smoking ban in boston officially starts today. i think it's a ridiculous law, not only because i'm directly affected as a smoker (who can barely find a place to smoke other than my own apt as it is without the ban), but also because i think it's up to the bar/restaurant owners whether they want to keep their establishment smoke-free or not.

most people i know smoke when they drink, and suffer when they can't smoke while drinking. i think the ban will result in a drop of the number of people going to bars in boston, which in turn will affect the profitability of these businesses.

people should be able to choose whether they want to hangout or work at a smoke-free place or not... it shouldn't be something that's decided for them.

May 03, 2003


"The gift of fantasy has meant more to me than my talent for absorbing positive knowledge." - Albert Einstein

this quote makes me feel a lot better about my totally unproductive, endless fantasizing habit that has recently proved to be the main reason why it's so hard to finish my other adult responsibilities, such as editing my essay.

btw, i'm having second thoughts about going to grad school after reading these comics...

cuz i'm a dufus sometimes...

yesterday i messed up my main user permission setting for my blog, which resulted in me not being able to access and edit anything on my blog, except for adding new entries. i spent last night and this afternoon pleading for help at movabletype's support forums, and reading thru many threads to see if anybody ever encountered this problem. i found, and was offered, several different solutions, which i tried one by one with no avail.

i was at the end of my wits just a few hours ago, and was about ready to kill someone, when it suddenly dawned on me, that probably the cgi file i run on my server (that was supposed to fix the problem but kept throwing an internal server error message instead) got messed up after the upload, even though i made sure i uploaded it as ascii. so i downloaded the file and checked. well, there it was... all the blank spaces on the document were replaced by the [∑] sign. wtf??!! so i deleted all the blank spaces, re-upload, and re-run. voila! it worked like magic! now i'm back to being a happy blogger! :)

oh, and check out wendy's new site; "the compilation of things too good to go unnoticed."

May 01, 2003

pixel character festival

found another excuse to postpone editing my essay and studying gre tonight. at least i'm learning something new: the key to pixeling is definitely patience, patience, and more patience. go see for yourself all the cute and dazzling members of godote's forum at the pixel character festival by gig... there are more than 20 characters altogether now... they're so cute! love 'em all!!!

update: summary of last week's inter-religion dialogue is available here, if you're interested.