Friday, July 30, 2004


A website that really knows how to Prepare for Emergencies. It provides helpful tips from disaster prevention techniques...

"Reduce fire hazards in your home. Children are the worst fire hazards; consider giving them up for adoption." plausible actions against Bad Events That Might Lead to Deaths, such as Alien Invasion:
"Negotiate using sign language, if possible. Failing that, and assuming they aren't armed with futuristic ray guns, run like hell."
(Thanks to Jakartass. Check here for background info on the above parody site.)


Signs when an expatriate's been living in Indonesia for too long #19:
"You're not surprised when three men with a ladder show up to change a light bulb"

(Taken from


Laminated cover: Dove or glossy?

Friday, July 23, 2004

28 July Update: Extreme Focus Group Testing

I decided to do a focus group testing. The idea is to get selective people to read the book so I would get a rough picture of how well would the book sell.

And the results were great! 50% of Readers LOVES the book. She loves it so much she won't mind marrying the author. While The Other 50% only looked at the manuscript with blank eyes, said "Eh. Eh. Eh." And then threw up. We'll just have to wait until The Other 50% has passed babyhood first.

Okay, so I was only able to get two people as testers. And their credibility is questionable.(1) But hey, there's no written manual that says it can't be done.(2)

But in the meantime, the results are clear: This book will place itself among its readers' hearts! (Hopefully not in the way a wooden stake does to a vampire.)

1: It'll go something like this...
Q: Are you credible?
A: Yes/Eh/(throws up).
Q: Okay, then.

2: Actually there was, but I fed it to The Other 50%.


Some days have passed without blogging because my book project's finally made a progress. Before you start calling the local authorities to scream "Book? How could you let this guy's thoughts come out in print!?" let me assure you by telling that it's a humor book. Okay, I see that doesn't stop you. Don't worry, you're not the only one.

Beginning since last year, the project's been going through what the Beatles called "the Long and Winding Road." Only one month in composition, the draft took three months of self-editing until I decided "That's enough!" There's no stop to feeding the self-critic. So I went to a certain publisher to sell it.

Like I said, it's a humor book. A collection of short essays where comedy is about life, observation and playful thoughts. So there goes the biggest challenge: the publisher's never handled this kind of book before. They were baffled. They didn't know the market value of this thing. However, they chose to believe in my writing. And I respect that.

But believing is one thing. Making it published is another thing. I had to help the marketers define what my target market would be. Thank God I'm a copywriter. Then after some hewing and huffing and occassional yawning, they figured my idea can sell. So I got a contract. This process already took months.

Then comes the editing part. This went on roughly at the start because my humor is influenced by Robert Benchley, Dave Barry, Dennis Miller, and Jerry Seinfeld. And the publisher's never read that kind of humor in Bahasa before. I don't blame them. I haven't either. The editing went on quite long that I managed to add some updates to the book. Some materials were even rewritten because they were getting old. More months passed.

After editing is the layout and setting. Again, I had to brief the person in charge because in humor, presentation is as important as the material. Even a sharp material, if presented badly, will bomb.

Between the process, there were events that held the project back. The publisher's anniversary, other BIG BOOKs launching, change of personnels, and so on. Then one day disaster struck. The setter had an accident that injured both of her hands. At this point, I finally got the point. There was absolutely a particular reason why I had to endure all this while many other writers have produced three books. I could choose to be angry. Depressed. Or even wallowing in self-pity. But I chose to proceed with my life.

Until the morning after the birth of Aza--the child of donna and me, when I received the call. The publisher told me they've finished the proof of my manuscript.

God does have a sense of humor. She has perfect timing and delivery. I had a hearty laugh that day.

The book may still have a long way to go to hit the shelves. But at least it's in progress. So stay tuned for updates!

Thursday, July 15, 2004

The Bassinet Of Horrors

So you have a baby, congratulations! After a few days in the hospital, you get home in anticipation of happy days to come... and end up spending the night on the couch. Because you forgot to buy a baby bassinet.

So the next day you went out and buy one. Not just a bassinet. But a portable bassinet. With just a few adjustments, the salesperson said, you can turn the bassinet into a baby rocker. Therefore enabling your child to sleep in comfort of being rocked back and forth, with the possibility of being launched like a catapult missile. But it's all for the good of the baby, of course.

And not just that! With yet a few other adjustments, you can attach wheels. Which looks cool. Unless the bassinet's still in the baby rocker mode. Then it'll look stupid.

And after all that, there's the assembling part. Boy, would you love to take your hands on it. You've got parts. You've got tools. You've got the manual. What else is wrong?

Everything. For instance, my in-laws brought a portal bassinet to assemble at my home. There's a big print on the package that says, "Simple Assembling Needed!" and the manual says, "...even a teenager can do it."

After two hours, three guys with a bachelor degree and a college student decided that teenagers nowadays are geniuses. We also believe this explains pop culture. Some old people must've been inventing it to keep teenagers from studying and conquering the world.

We also decided that Aza (the name of our newborn baby) will be free of all that. That is, if he survives being thrown out of the rocker.

Saturday, July 10, 2004


When you just have a baby, there's this tremendous social pressure to
1) Believe how cute the baby is
2) Know who the baby looks like

So you'll get comments like "Oh! How cute! So who does he look like?" or, "A baby boy? Congrats! Does he look like you or your wife?" or the more direct one such as, "Awww...look, his jaw takes up the dad. And see the resemblance with the mother!"

This doesn't apply to, say, grandparents.

"Oh, so this is your grandpa?"
"Why, yes... a little shriveled up and delirious, but still kicking nonetheless. We just got him out of jail for mistaking a policeman as a tree, and himself as a territorial dog."
"Oh, how cute! I can see the resemblance."

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

No Offense, Doc...

...But my partner and I chose to find another gynaecologist with, uhm, well... better semantics.

(FYI: "Ahli Kebidanan dan Penyakit Kandungan" is Bahasa for "Obstetrician & Gynaecologist.")

Just so he won't sue us, we'll have to relay the information that the good Doctor Kingky is a well-known, respectable man in his profession. When my partner still at her five month pregnancy, many experienced mothers endorsed him. They said he's a great doctor and very helpful. Little did they know that the last statement actually made us think twice.

We also looked for a natal hospital near our residence. There's one just 2.5 kilometers away, but we decided against it. Because the plank says, and I quote: "Non-stop labor 24 hrs."

Thursday, July 01, 2004

Blogging Advisory: Parenthood Due

Blogging has been scarce, because this writer has just been a--God help us all--father of a healthy (physically, at least) baby boy. This writer has been looking forward to this day because, well, it's relatively harder to look backward. And he needs another snapshot model than cats.

On the other hand, when the baby found out that he was born into a family of writers, this was his reaction.


Our candidates now understand the concept of finding a unique trait of themselves to sell to their audience.

"Don't get confused, just vote for the prettiest one."
--Megawati Soekarnoputri, the only female presidential candidate

"We need to thoroughly scan the candidates [to find the one] to vote for. Aside of being honest, smart, religious, charismatic, and capable... having a moustache also matters."
--Jusuf Kalla, the only vice presidential candidate sporting a moutache
But of course, America has longer history in direct voting. We can see the fine example of it from here.

(Thanks to Ins.)