Archive for May, 2010

My First Tumor

Meet Ardi.  Ardi is a mature Indonesian man-boy who enjoys eating, sitting on his toy truck, a nice glass of cognac, pimpin’ hoes…. oh and 2 packs of cigarettes a day.

Is it just me or do you imagine this was Kim Jong Il 70 years ago?

If youre a parent and ever feel as though you are some what inadequate or perhaps didnt help your children develop to their full potential, I invite you to revisit this story to give you a shot of encouragement.  In unrelated news his father was recently nominated for both the prestigious Worst Father in History and Kim Jon Ils of Tomorrow awards.  My brother summed it up best, “Is life easier when you are that stupid?”.

I know what youre saying, “thats not real”, just watch the video. Im just impressed that he learned how to blow smoke rings in 4 months!

Creative by Proxy

Ive always thought of myself as an original and unique person with a gift for providing a fresh perspective on any situation, but thats only because I take all my concepts, philosophies and opinions from the most interesting of the people I surround myself with. 

Of late two of them are getting some good exposure and I wanted to share that with the 2 people who read this blog (one of which is featured below):

Graphic Design is like the Psychology major or Dave Matthews Band of careers.  Anyone who had no motivation or couldnt figure out what they wanted to with their life decided to be a Graphic Designer.  The one common thread among them all is their inability to deliver on a time line and their belief that because they work in a creative role they are not bound to the same rules everyone else plays by in the business world. 

Enter Austin Lee Watts III, an old friend that morphed from a very diligent bar-back in Philly into a creative and surprisingly professional designer.  Like me he has also ventured away from a secure 9-5 job, where he worked in the fashion district of NYC for a rather well-known apparel company, to start his own “art direction studio”, One Day Vacation. Much like my decision, this may not have been the most fiscally sound move, particularly in this economic climate,  but looks like it was a gamble that is starting to pay off . I guess now that hes not designing meaningless t-shirt vector art for the teenage section of your local department store, conceptualization is bit more uninhibited.  He designed the Westwind logo for me by the way.  He recently got some love from a well respected design blog:

 Beautiful/Decay Design Blog: Austin Watts

Until I was 20 I thought Id make my mark in life working in the recording industry. One summer at a major label in Hollywood quickly changed my mind and I decided 16 hours a day in front of a computer with no human interaction would be far more rewarding, if not more attune to my neurosis. On occasion Ive ventured back into thinking it would be fun to do something related to music and sometimes actually attempted it (Bashment Magazine and Matt Sheehy show with Rachel comes to mind) but reality always brings me back to my inanimate friend. 

Luke Roberts has managed to keep himself in a constant state of disillusionment for the better part of 20 years and has proved that while ignorance may not be bliss, it certainly can get you some amazing bragging rights. Recently he opened up for Thurston Moore, not really sure how that happened but it did and last month he released his first solo album on Ecstatic Peace Records, Moores record label. While im sure it would pain him to hear me say this as every says he looks like Beck, but the albums somewhat reminiscent of Becks – One Foot in the Grave, minus the schizophrenia and a bit less dissonance (its meant as a compliment, if you took it otherwise youre just a very negative person and nothing good will come in your life). You can get the MP3s off eMusic or buy the CD here:

Luke Roberts – Big Bells and Dime Songs

My very own pigmy tribe

So I was doing my budgeting today for the next 6 months.  Ive expended the money I had saved for living work free about 2 months early and had to decide if its worth the investment (and risk) to stay.  I decided it was and Ive now delved into my emergency stash, which leaves me very anxious.  Its basically the money I had to keep me going if I had to go back to the states without a job (read: Ill be sleeping on your couch if things dont work out). So according to my budget I needed $8000 more to get by over the next 6 months.  That includes visas, a new apartment (you have to pay all 6 months in advance),  internet, etc.

Ive been working with several companies over the past 3 months and giving a lot of free advice, conference calls and in some cases, free days weeks of work, under the premise that good faith leads to contracts.  After 3 months however I was starting to think I was just a sucker. Today I signed a deal for 3 months of work at a nice hourly rate. Ive been closing consulting contracts for the past 5 years but its amazing how much more exciting it is when you have no steady income.

My budget is now greatly expanded and in my typical fashion I had to find somewhere for all this money to go (savings does what?). Im going to buy a pigmy tribe. 

Yup, my very own pigmy tribe. The thought of this has consumed my day but I think I got it all figured out:

  1. I need a decent sized one but not so many that they cant fit in my apartment.  I mean they are pigmy but still, one must be reasonable right? I figure if they sleep head to toe I can fit 3 rows of 5 pigmy per row in the guest room, round it up to an even 20.  They can rotate two per night to stand guard outside my apartment door (just to wierd-out the neighbors).
  2. Ill just have them stand around my apartment, use one for a foot rest, one for a cup holder and the two most muscular can just stand at my side where ever I go looking pseudo-intimidating (how scary can you be at 3 feet?).
  3. Ill give them all cute nicknames like “Lippie” for the guy with a lip plate or “Saggy Tits” for the oldest woman. 
  4. Ill forbid any of them to learn English so I can have very heated arguments with them and have no idea what we are talking about.
  5. Ill get a cardboard box (probably from a pigmy mini-fridge) and call it the Timeout-Box.  Whenever they break the rules (which will be posted on the Timeout-Box in English) they will have to spend 30 minutes there. Just to keep them on their toes Ill send one of them there for no reason at all every once in a while.
  6. Also to keep them on their toes Ill put the food on the top shelf in the kitchen (get it, cause theyre pigmy…….short…..on thier toes….gaaaah do I have to explain all my jokes to you guys?).
  7. At night we can have a small bonfire (a pigmy bonfire)  in the living room and tell pigmy short stories, which undoubtedly I wont understand but Ill laugh and cry with them anyway because they will be amazing story tellers.
  8. Ill send them to the grocery store with no money, just spears and face paint. They can stalk the Butter Ball turkeys and hide in the lettuce rack throwing spears at the live fish.
  9. Finally, every night I will put them to sleep by playing The Greatest Adventure to them (click on the damn link!!! Theyre here for a good reason).

God only knows


Internet went down sometime Saturday night and Sunday morning.  Customer service is closed on Sunday so we were without Internet all day.  Not so bad, Lida and I had an unwired day so it was nice.  This morning they told me a “surfer” was out, which completely confused me until Lida translated it for me, shes really good at Engrish translation.  At 9:30am they said it would be back up by 4pm (high availability in Indonesia refers to a server being in a really tall building, apparently, or else its just how easily the Network Admins can get stoned).   

At 5:30pm they finally sent someone up to my apartment to discover my modem and coaxial cables were bad.  So two days offline with no cell phone (oh did I mention I lost it, yea for me!), probably needed the break but time to get back to procrastinating and feigning self-importance.

Super Rad

Ok so I find t hard to stay on topic sometimes (Indonesia) …….

Theres a few super hero movies that have come out in the past decade:

X-Men (2000)
Spider-Man (2002)
Daredevil (2003)
Hulk (2003)
X2: X-Men United (2003)
The Punisher (2004)
Catwoman (2004)
Spider-Man 2 (2004)
Hellboy (2004)
Batman Begins (2005)
Fantastic Four(2005)
Elektra (2005)
Superman Returns (2006)
X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)
Spider-Man 3 (2007)
Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007)
Ghost Rider(2007)
Iron Man (2008)
The Incredible Hulk (2008)
Hellboy 2: The Golden Army (2008)
Punisher: War Zone (2008)
The Dark Knight (2008)
Watchmen (2009)
X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)

Mostly they are glorifying my adolescence and fall short in quantifying if not qualifying the obsession my brother and I had as kids with comics. For some reason Hollywood is great at visualization, perhaps, but the movies dont inspire the kind of pure emotion that the characters in these comics elicited.

Perhaps its a bit over-dramatic, but I watched a superhero movie tonight that came as close to the real thing as Ive experienced in quite a long time. Kick-Ass (2010). Im not too sure what exactly it was but it was actually a fun movie. I expected another bromance in the context of superheros but was surprised, not to mention, Nicolas Cage was actually REALLY good, yes, perhaps a type-cast, but one he is exceedingly good at.

And to make matters worse, I love the title track by Mika. Sorry but I already intimated my affection for Blink-182 on this blog so I dont think I could lose much more respect from my audiophile friends at this point. Oh and to all the ladies if you havent seen Mika yet, youre welcome:

Around Jakarta

Just wanted to share some pictures Lida took today. These are originals unedited.

This was actually take a few days ago but its the usual sunset from the balcony.

Oldman and the bag

Mobile Shower

Moped Mafia

Indonesian Sedan


So this seem to be a recurring theme with me. Looks I screwed up my visa again.  Things have been moving so quickly here and Ive been coding again and I lost track of time. My visa expired yesterday. Ive been reading up online and it looks like I might be ok, just will have to pay a $40 fine, I hope thats all. Im just so bad with paperwork and staying “legal” is such a foreign concept (get it, cause Im in a foreign country but in this sentence “foreign” is used to mean, of or related to something outside ones consideration, its dual meaning, Im an amazing linguist).

The Splinter Shards The Birth Of Totally Rad Album Art


So what do I miss about the United States? Well, besides Mexican food and an-effecient-elevator-system-that-wont-pass-your-floor-3-times-before-stopping-and-will-let-you-go-UP-when-youre-on-the-25th-floor-and-want-to-go-to-the-30th-floor, not a whole lot. But for sure I miss driving in my car by myself and singing.  I really think its where the majority of us feel the most comfortable or vulnerable.  And if you are having difficulty believing or understanding the point Im trying to make, let me present the following cases.  The names and places may have been changed to protect the guilty…or maybe Ill just use the real names to mess with your heads:    

  1. I can remember going to “parties” (infer what you want between the quotes but this is a public blog so Im keepin’ it PG) and spendin’ 30 minutes to an hour inside pretending like I knew how to dance, attempting conversation or just standing in the corner. The remainder of the time was spent in my car listening to music.  Often friends would join me but not always.  The best was when one actually brought some new music with them. I found Lamb, Moloko, June of 44, Refused and more that way. In fact I was first introduced to Modest Mouse this way (in 1997, so yeah, I can say “before they were cool” unless you were in the emo scene, then I guess it was always cool or maybe it was cool for them not to be cool but now Im just loosing my train of thought).  We started listening to This Is a Long Drive for Someone with Nothing to Think About and then moving on to some demos. After about 3 or 4 hours of sitting in the car with the air conditioner on I realized we were almost out of gas, prompting a short trip across the street to Circle K for gas then back to the parking lot for more music.
  2. I had a 1990 Chevy Lumina, it was my first car that my dad bought me in the summer ’97. Although it didnt have the best stereo (factory and the right side was dead) it didnt stop my friend from smashing my review mirror while borrowing it in what was described to me as an emotional reaction to listening to the Zao album The Splinter Shards the Birth of Separation album  (I know, youre thinking what Im thinking and yes, that is the most badass album name ever in the history of man kind).  True, I could have been mad, but to be quite honest, I had had a similar reaction many times in the car, Im just a little more coordinated than him.
  3. The last line to the previous example my not have been completely true. In October of 2004 I was driving a 1986 Honday Prelude.  The front bumper was held on by a coat hanger and there was duck tape on the sun roof to prevent the water from getting in, which was completely unsuccessful because every time the car was parked on an incline, water got in, shooting freezing water on my head and neck at the first stop sign.  This prompted me to take out a loan and buy a 2000 Volvo S40. This beautiful car looked like a low profile BMW with out the pompousness or price tag. It also had a kick ass stereo. During the first month of ownership I would come up with excuses to go to the store, gas station or other meaningless errands just to drive and listen to my music.  During this period I was having a bit of a regression to the mid to late 90s and was listening to Refused’ seminal release, The Shape of Punk to Come: A Chimerical Bombination in 12 BurstsI guess I got caught up in the moment and during a particularly aggressive reaction to the music i cracked the windshield. In my defence windshields are made to break from the inside more easily, perhaps for this very reason.


    Its important for me to stop here and explain to you the importance of this album, not just for me. Without giving too long of a history of  Middle School, Post and New School Punk Rock Hardcore music, lets just say this album was truly a master piece. It was an album that was released in 1998.  In 1998 the standard hardcore release was along the lines of Victory Records, Trustkill and Equal Vision.  Bands like Botch, Dillinger Escape PlanDarkest Hour and Locust certainly brought some originality to the genre, but it was nothing accessible to a general audience.  Refused introduced the masses to a new kind of organized, focused and slightly melodic angst.    

    The Locust get intimate


  5.  In 1998 at the same time that I was claiming my elegance to sub, counter, non-mainstream music and culture I started listening to two bands that I could never admit to my friends, MxPx and Blink-182.  As a personal joke I would make my friend and roommate around this time, who was into experimental and minimalist music, listen to Blink-182’s album Enima of the State.  After a year of rare irresponsibility and shirking responsibility on my part, we were evicted from our apartment and had to part ways. On the way to the train station I put on the song Whats My Age Again as a final homage to our one year in exile from reality and to be obnoxious one more time.  Half way through the song we were booth cry like babies, not so much because of the song, although that had a lot to do with it, but we both had our own things goin’ on.

I think the person that summed up the spiritual effect of listening to music in a car was Garrison Keillor (do you like contrast here, going from emo to hardcore to poppy punk rock to gospel singer, i hope you all appreciate the diversity Im incorporating) on his CD Garrison Keillor and the Hopeful Gospel Quartet:    

There were us, the 4 of us and our best friend Raymond J. Larson, we used to drive around and park in his ’58 Oldsmobile.  We didnt drink, we didnt smoke, us sanctified brethren kids, we just thought about sex all the time. I thought about it about 4000 times a day.  We’d park in the car on Saturday nights; Our parents always made the 5 of us go together, thinking that the odd number would confuse us.  And it did, but it didnt get it off my mind.  Thats how we started out singing really, was in that car.  We started out our quartet as a quintet, trying to avoid having sex. Late on Saturday nights we’d sing and the harmonies would come back off the windshield, back towards us, like singing in the shower except with your cloths on.