Archive for September, 2010


49 Days in the Wilderness


Finally Lida is coming home tonight. After waiting an entire month for a new passport and then changing her flight to later in order to get an Indonesian social/cultural visa (which she didn’t get because, no matter what country you live in, Gov’t workers sole purpose in life is to make your life miserable), Lida will be back tonight.

I’m goin’ all out with the flowers, bottle o’ bubbly, bath stuff (for the bath tub we now have which is a luxury in Jakarta) and even bought a collared shirt that isn’t “business class” with an undershirt that’s not black or brown and have cotton worm holes in it.

Also I told her I wasn’t able to get the money in time to move into the new townhouse I was trying to get so she thinks we are staying in a Kost (kinda like an Indonesian B&B) when infact I moved in today!

It will be so nice to have my normal life back. Fall asleep with her, in a real bed, with AC, oh and a swimming pool out the back door! Two guest rooms btw (hint hint).

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Comin’ to America


Ok, its official, Ill be in the states from Nov. 13th to Dec. 1st.  Ill be making 3 stops on my 2010 North American Tour if you would like a rare opportunity to bask in the light of my presence:

  1. LA until the 16th or so
  2. New York City until 18th or 19th
  3. Orlando until 28th or so
  4. Back to LA to fly home

That pretty much covers all my friends location except for Northwest but flights are cheap from Portand to LA (Joni).  Ive already decided Im using my entire baggage allowance for bringing back food. Stubbs BBQ Sauce, A1, runts, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and maybe some mexican seasonings.  Anyway, if youre in any of those areas when Im back drop me a line.

This is the Sound Awesome


Its hard for me to describe to you how happy the following videos make me feel.  Dennis Leary said it best, “happiness comes in small doses, its a cigarette or a chocolate chip cookie or a 5 second orgasm”.  Id like to add one more item to that list. Belgian New Beat.  I have to thank Austin for this one, cause apparently he gets paid to hang out and watch funny YouTube videos and he sent me the first selection which lead to a YouTube Hole and now Im hooked.  I cant start my day without watching at least one of these videos.

  • I know they look gay but you know these guys were total players
  • I wonder how long they practice these moves
  • Is that Shawn Hatosy
  • That is Steve Marshall from Christian Central Academy in Buffalo, hes even got the crazy hand gestures down
  • The more I watch this the more sexy the girls get and I dont know why
  • At :19 the director says to the girl “Unt der vill be no shmiling in dis video!!!”
  • Anyone that wants to get me a present can get me those sunglasses, I must have them
  • Girl on the far right is my dream girl ….. in 1991. Pretty sure she speaks with a lisp.
  • The fog machine makes the foot work so much better
  • At 1:46 its Beth Grant!!!!
  • They have 2 others that are just as epic, if not blatantly racist
  • Its Harry, Ron and Harmonie!!!
  • Played by the Kids in the Hall?
  • Overdose on the lip gloss Ron
  • Actually I do kinda want to suck your *******

Bako National Park, Borneo, Malaysia


Bako National Park

Well I went to Bako National Park on Tuesday. With 3 types of monkeys, bearded pigs, monitors and more, it was sure to be a cool experience. I caught the local bus by the waterfront to the boat docks near Bako for 3RM ($1 USD). Had to pay a 10RM entry fee and share a boat with 4 Europeans which we paid a total of 50RM one way and arranged for him to pick us up at 4pm. 

Those damn Europeans, with their fancy cameras and “official guide books” and “park passes”, such snobs. But they didn’t get to experience the real Bako like I did. Such as finding out that while the Proboscis Monkey may have a face that looks like an inside out vagina, he actually doesn’t like you to treat it as such. And that even though the Bearded Pig may sound dangerous and threatening, they actually are not but the pit viper is the opposite and doesn’t live up to its seemingly gentle and sweet exterior, and btw theyre really good at Duck-Duck-Goose. 

Anyone reading this for info on the park, note that most tour packages sell for about 300RM. I have no idea why they think its worth it as you can hire a personal guide for 80RM a day. By my count, with the bus, boat, guide and a meal or two that’s not gunna cost you more than 150RM. Most tours will only take you to the closest beach, Telok Paku, which is only .8km of the over 30km of trails in Bako.

smoke

 

Because Im a professional jungle trekker I opted not to get a guide (read: there were none available and I was sure I was going to die). The boat dropped us on the beach in front of the park HQ where there are chalets and cabins for rent if you want to stay the night. I bought a map for 1.50RM and made my way to the trail head. The following is my log through out the day: 

8:35am Majority of the morning trekkers are more thrilled by the monkeys hanging around the canteen than the prospects of whats in the park. (little did I know this would be the only monkeys I would see all day) 

8:53am Made it to the top of the first 200 meters, took about 30 minutes. This trail would give Indian Jones and Laura Croft a heart attack. 45 degree muddy incline and rocks covered with moss and vines that Im fairly certain are alive cause they keep reaching out and tripping me. Love the Smoking Area at the very top. At least they know their audience (no, I didnt, in case you were wondering). 

tidak cukup kecil

 

9:05am First contact. Lots of tree branches rustling and monkey noises. Apparently crashing through the jungle toward the sound doesnt encourage social behavior. 

9:15am Heard a growl and some loud crashing noises about 10-20 meters off to my left. Think its the dick-nose monkey. Throwing rocks in that direction quickly shut him up. Total dick-nose. 

9:48am Officially lost at 1.2km marker. 

10:13am Arrived at Telok Pandan Kecil beach or at least 100 meters above it. No chance in hell Im climbing down there. 

11:02am Really starting to rethink the whole Extreme Jungle Trekker career change at marker 2.7km of the Tajor Trail, although Im getting great tracers off the moss.

Frenchies be damned, this was the best part of the hike

11:15am Amazing, I have cell phone service on top of one of the ridges. Googling what to do when stranded during cardiac arrest. 

11:43am Made it to the Tajor waterfall. The pool above the falls is perfectly ringed by mangroves and palm trees, fairly certain this is where they filmed “Bear Necessities” part of tthe Jungle Book. Water is brown, dick-nose probably uses it as a toilet. Fish bit my nipple, kinda turned me on. Damn French couple showed up and ruined it with their awkward look-Im-in-the-jungle-photo-shoot-but-Im-too-European-to-show-any-signs-that-I-might-be-having-fun.   

12:24pm Think I just hallucinated Baloo singing a refrain of “The Bear Necessities”.   

12:35pm Finally made it to Telok Paku trail. This is obviously the tour package trail, just had to wait for 20 Germans coughing and wheezing to come down a ladder.

Telok Paku, Bako National Park

12:42pm You have no idea how long .8km can be. Why am I going up and away from the ocean when Im trying to get to the beach!?   

12:53pm Ahhh Paradise ….. ok, its not Puerto Chino, but after 5 hours of brutal terrain its my dream come true.   

2:30pm Swam, slept, ate corn-lemon crackers (the only nourishment a true professional jungle explorer needs), swam, now back to the lodge.   

3:13pm Ahhh, Tiger beer. Something about buying beer from a 9 year old girl that speaks 3 languages really makes you feel like a genuinely bad person.   

3:35pm Nothing more satisfying than watching a macaques monkey (bastard monkeys of the jungle) jumping on a table and steel an entire box of cookies from a Dutch girl. Theres a metaphor there Im just not quite catching it.


100% Indonesian, except for the whole thing about Batavia being the name given Jakarta by its colonial era oppressors and the fact that they use the Dutch national colors as their corporate brand. But other than that they are Indonesian all the way.

I should say though that I don’t know what everyone was taking about when they told me they are a terrible airline. Yes, both flights were delayed in Indonesia but that no different than every other flight. The flight crew was far nicer than Air Asia, you can check a bag for free and not only can you choose your seat at check in, they gave me exit row both times for FREE! Imagine that! Its like Skinners Walden 2 in the sky!

So I spent the night in Pontianak  at a very nice western style hotel called The Mercure. It was reminiscent of Starwoods aLoft properties but with Indo style. The food there is great and one of the few hotel breakfasts worth paying for.

I had wanted to check out the equatorial monument 3km outside of town but wanted to get to the airport early as I overstayed my visa by a day. As it turns out the airport is so small I think the immigration officers just wanted to process the 20 people on my flight and get back to smoking cigarettes and sleeping, so they didnt catch or chose not to give me a hard time about it.

Kuching once again made me extremely jealous.  The airport was clean, with modern technology and air conditioning.  The city also is clean, little traffic and everyone speaks english.  Tomorrow Im going on a jungle trek in the Bako National Park in the Sarawak region of Borneo tomorrow morning. Will post pics later.

Indonesian Airport Fail


I’m going to Kuching, Malasyia today for a little vacation and to get my social cultural visa. First I fly to Pontianak in West Kalimantan. Kalimantan is the Indonesian portion of Borneo. I’m really excited about flying out of Soekarno-Hatta International Airport. Mostly because every flight I’ve ever taken from here has been delayed (and as of 5 minutes ago that streak is officially continied). But also because it is a state of the art facility.

Last week the main radar system went down. The air traffic controller had to boot the system to manual, memorize several dozen flights and their flight paths before shutting the system down again to try to bring it back online.

A few months ago the entire airport lost power for 7 seconds resulting in many airlines ticketing and flight management system being unable to recover for hours.

Today I went through 5 securiity checkpoints all with xray machines. It wasn’t until the 5th time that someone saw the large pair of scissors in my backpack.

Finally, I’m flying Batavia Air. I’ve not flown them before but I’ve heard many thrilling stories about them and their flight record. The fact that I’m flying a low volume route makes me think they probably aren’t devoting their best resources, either personnel or equipment.

So with that, I’d just like everyone to know that I am happy with the way I lived my life and have no regrets, except maybe buying a ticket on Batavia Air but really it will be over so fast my brain probably won’t have time to register the feeling of regret, it will just be like “ummm are the wings supposed to fold up like tha” CRASH!

Oh How the Techno-Righteous Have Fallen


Son of....I cant watch the announcement I have Artic Lemming!!!

I started off my life as a techie nerd in Apple products working in PageMaker (yeah I was in the Year Book club, you wanna go?), HyperCard programming, Photoshop and Mark of Unicorn/Performer software.  This was partly because Mac was the leading platform in the recording industry and partly because of their monopoly in the education sector. I barely knew my way around a PC when I got to college in 1996. That was the last time I touched a Mac except to play the dinosaur game on my moms when I was stuck there for the holidays.

I came of age in my career as a Microsoft DBA and Database Developer which transitioned into a C# .Net development position (Microsofts Object Oriented Programming language) and while I dabbled in JAVA, I am and have always been a Microsoftie. Not by choice but merely by circumstance really. Its always been my contention that a Tool-is-a-Tool and if a tool is using a tool then of course it will suck. Yes, when benchmarking Oracle RDBMS against Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle processes more transactions or has better throughput.  Then again these tests are done with millions of transactions per second. Off hand I can think of 2 companies in the world this kind of data processing is relevent to (I would relate this to the Worlds Strongest Man competition, how many times does someone walk up to one of those guys and say “Hey can you pull this tracker trailer to the next block for me? Thanks buddy”).  In short, the technology is only as good as the user. And yes, Internet Explorer is more prone to virus attacks than Apples Safari, but then what decent virus coder is going to target 3.5% of the market.  Microsoft has also been slandered for the secrecy of their code with Open Source supporters saying they stole UNIX code. For years Ive heard the self righteous drone on and on about the evils of Microsoft but this year the playing field is being leveled. Evil is afoot at your local ISP. We are finally seeing that all major technology companies are code-hoarding, ego-maniacal, money whores trying the honey pot approach of “free” licences while others use divide and conquer and still some just go for the Jonestown Massacre approach.

 

Oralce

Sun Microsystems was recently purchased by Oracle.  This is no surprise as Sun was struggling financially and Oracle has aligned their platform with JAVA for years. Prior to this though, Sun declared JAVA Open Source. Of coarse, if you are a commercial company that wants to utilize the code you have to pay licensing fee, which in turn means you dont have to share your code modifications with anyone, thus creating an alternate JAVA universe where only the über rich corporations are allowed to venture and consequently, mature. So what does this tell us about our white hat Open Source friends?  Much like 1919 Chicago White Socks, JAVAs open source has a price to make it magically turn into a proprietary platform.

Google

Google has had a great year in taking over the Evil Empire, starting off with Androids “Open Source” framework which, according to Oracle, infringes on their copyright and patent by using JAVA apps in its framework and Google hasnt paid the toll (see above). Oracle is looking to recoup what they amount to “lost revenue” but what I think should be more accurately characterized as a forced loss of market share for Googles mobile aspirations.  Its hard to decide who is being more evil here.  In 2007, prior to the release of Android, Google formed the Open Handset Alliance, which seemed really kumbya-ish then, with people talking about how Google was creating a mobile platform that would enable us all to have free mobile service.  Yes and immediately following that we would all go out for ice cream and talk about our feelings.  Now, with the lawsuit looming, this seems like a shrewd way to defend themselves in court.  Its much more difficult to prove Google violated copyright and patent laws when T-Mobile, Sprint, Nextel, Vodafone, HTC, LG, Motorola, Samsung AND Google all developed the platform. By the time the court system figures this one out we’ll all be using nano computers running on corn syrup.

Not to let the skeptics sit and wonder who is more evil, Google has tried to solidify their place with their about face on Net Neutrality. Personally, I think the concept alone is delusional. You want to take the largest commercial market place in the world and try to get fiercely competitive companies to agree not too compete?  The Cincinnati Shuffle Google played on the FCC and the industry is one for the play books. “Yes we are all about internet access for all parties regardless of size, oooh one second Ive got a call I have to take……Yeah, Verizon, ok cool, we will wire that over to your account in the morning.”  Personally I have nothing against the move.  I think it was inevitable that this would happen, Google just preempted everyone else.  Now every content provider is scrambling to make a similar deal with any wireless provider that will talk to them.  The real depressing part is the previously incorrigible, if not technologically stifling wireless providers now have more power and money than ever before. Forget about choosing which provider has the latest and greatest phone you want.  You now have to decide which one will deliver ICanHasCheezBurger pics the fastest.

Apple

Now my favorite to slander. Its not so much the company that bothers me, its the users. Always talking about how superior it is, no virus, so easy to use, never crashes, they dont control the platform like Microsoft and on and on like its some wonderkin. This year Apple steps out from behind the curtain.

While nothing is new in this revelation, as its been a fact since the first iPhone in 2007, Flash is not supported on any of the Apple touch screen products (iPad, iTouch and iPhone).  Recently Steve Jobs sited (amoung other reasons) that it was nothing personal, its just they feel Flash was developed for the mouse and keyboard world which will be obsolete with the next generation handheld products and Apple didnt want to dilute their brand.  Oh right, you mean like developing a YouTube app to watch 15 second grainy videos of a 4 year old kicking his dad in the balls? Yeah, cause that really showcases the next generation of handheld gadgets.  There had been much speculation in 2007 and 2008 that Apple would buy Adobe. Perhaps its just conspiracy theory on my part, but I cant help but wonder if a deal was in the works and fell through, creating animosity for Jobs, who has a reputation for a short temper in business dealings. Either way, Apple is showing the same attributes of control and diseminate that has been attributed souly to Micrsoft over the past 2 decades.

The super secret announcements Apple makes on a quarterly basis are very reminiscent of a Jonestown cult type leadership.  Yesterdays event being limited to Apple OS running Safari is so brazenly egotistical and all just to announce a revamped iTouch and another version of a previously failed product? It seems that technology companies excluding users that dont strictly conform to their corporate policies and roadmap is now the norm instead of the exception.   

Regardless of your alliances, I am reveling in the fact that the market it so muddled with companies that cant decide whether to champion the purity of an open market place or get a leg up, that we cant even tell friends from foe. Maybe its time to go back to the wilderness and send each other smoke signals.  At least there is no debate about platform and methodology,  light a fire and get a blanket. Whats the battery life on that you think?