Posted by: xtrhic | March 10, 2008

VABB@JJF

MyBand Goes to the Java Jazz Festival

Well it happened. We played at the famous Java Jazz Festival. We didnt have much time to prepare, as we were told by Mas S about 3 weeks beforehand. We were actually in the middle of preparing for another event when we learned about the opportunity.
With such short notice, we decided to play songs that we have mastered, instead of trying to get in a new playlist. Since it is a jazz festival (of sorts) we chose our songs carefully, getting in the more standard jazz tunes and our most decent sounding swing tunes.
We ended up with the following list:
1. Satin Doll
2. The Way You Look Tonight
3. Fly Me to the Moon
4. How High the Moon
5. Girl from Ipanema
6. You are the Sunshine of My Life
7. Quiet Night of Quiet Stars
8. My Favorite Things
9. Birdland

We also managed to get some singers to perform together for some songs: How High the Moon, Girl From Ipanema, Fly Me to the Moon. Additionally, we got some rest time for the Big Band while the singers did Just the Two of Us and Didadaku with the rhythm section.

MyBand was the first show of the day and we were neatly tucked away, off to the side in the Talent Stage. So we didnt expect the parking lot to be full nor would we have any body watching us, but it was and we did.
The parking lot was pretty full when we got there at 3:00PM. We had wanted to drop off our equipment and our instruments near the entrance but we couldnt. We had to park all the way over yonder and lug our stuff to the hall. Being a small band we didnt have our own roadie crew. Being a small Bigband, we had the dubious honor of having to lug our own chairs too! Yes the committee didnt or couldnt provide us with chairs for the event.

We were warmed up and ready to play by 4:00PM, but we had to wait until our actual time of 4:30 before we could start playing. These guys were pretty strict on the rules. I guess it is important if you have multiple stages that are pretty close to each other. I would be pretty upset if I couldnt hear my band because some other band was tooting around. So at exactly 4:30, our conductor picked up the mike, and in his very Javanese accent announced who we were, and what our first song would be.
Before we knew it, we were already at our 5th song, we had already covered half of our repertoire, introduced our singers and had quite a gathering. I estimated about 50 people, consisting of friends and spouses, jazz community people and people just wandering between shows. At the end of every solo, we clapped for our own just because we could. It helped to pump up the crowd too…
We closed with Birdland, its a crowd pleaser song, rather fast paced, loud, jazzy and a definite toe tapper. All ini all, I think we had as much fun as those that turned up to watch.

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Posted by: xtrhic | February 18, 2008

Neutrality 3

Just recently found out that the CHe of Switzerland is from Confederation Helvetica. 😀

Anyway, it was my last day in Geneva. I went to the meeting site to say goodbye to some of my friends, browse the internet for a bit then head off to Zurich.

I was on the train by noonish. I packed myself some food since I wasnt sure I would be able to get a lunch on the train. Well, I know I can get lunch on the train, just wasnt sure where on the train I could find the food. Anyway, the train ride was ok, read, ate, slept, looked at the fields we passed by. Again I didnt take any pictures, not sure why this time.

So I got to the Flughaven, stored my huge suitcase at the left luggage (right luggage?) and took another train to go to the Zughaven (hahaha) the city train station which was about 15 minutes or so. I got some more food before I left the airport. Then I got on the local train to the citystation.

Once at the hotel, it started to get dark rather quickly. I didnt feel like going outside and exploring, I guess I was just lazy. The hotel was rather nice, it was a boutique hotel of sorts, with large, loud colored panels in the hallway, hidden lighting etc. I also had dinner at the hotel, it was billed as a good restaurant, which I found to be true. A lot of people, not from the hotel, showed up to have dinner. It was a French restaurant (I’m in Zurich, the German side of Switzerland). The food was great. I’ll post the pics later.

I decided to take a walk around the hotel. I tell you, it got quiet pretty darn quickly right after sundown. Which made me think, is this a safe neighborhood? Some of my friends had been robbed and the sorts in Geneva, so I decided to play it safe: keep on the opposite side of anyone and everyone. Call me paranoid. But there werent anyone on the street to speak of so I made it a quick evening and got back to the hotel and logged on.

The next morning, I packed, checked out, and walked towards the center of town, close to the city station. I remember walking this very area (Braunhoffstrasse) about 20 years ago exactly. I realized that I didnt have as much time as I thought I did, so I hurried through my sightseeing and returned to the Citystation and then on to Flughaven.

Got my suitcase from the left luggage place, opened up a secondary, foldaway bag, I offloaded some stuff from my main suitcase. The thinking is that I would have 2 bags, with a 20kg limit each. I sadly miscalculated.

I proceeded to the check-in counter only to find out I was 4kgs overweight (the luggage!) on each piece. I quickly repacked into 1 suitcase, put all the overweight stuff in my backpack and in a plastic bag the checked in. Fortunately the nice lady at the counter (who first told me my suitcases were overweight ) was able to help.

After passing customs, finding that the line to board the aircraft was sooo long, I went to a bar got myself a coke and a toblerone, and an internet connection. Chatted with my friends at home, got on the plane, programmed my inflight entertainment then settled down to enjoy the 12+ hours of flying.

Arrived in Singapore a bit later than what I had hoped for, so I had to rush over to the connecting flight and praying that my luggage would make it as well. After another 1 hour and a half of flying I find myself back in the cradle of traffic jams and pollution and flooded streets.

Posted by: xtrhic | November 1, 2007

Neutrality 2

Several days after arriving in Geneva, its been non stop meetings till the evening. I havent had time to go around for the sites. The weather hasnt helped either, its been cloudy almost all day. Fortunately on Friday night, it was a full moon and the clouds cleared up a little. I took a walk down to the lake, and was afforded a very nice view of the sun setting, the full moon rising and of course, a good view of the Jet d’Eau. I’m hoping the pictures will come out nicely, it was pretty cold, and the boat I was on didnt help in terms of a steady hand.

The Moon, The Jet and The Water

My friend and I took a water taxi across the lake, walked around a bit, and took pictures under the Jet d’Eau. It was windy, cold, wet and getting dark very fast. We crossed back (round trip tickets cost 3CHFr) and took some more photos amongst the bird shit laden railing. I ignored the bird shit coz I couldnt see it. 😀

We then went to look for some food. We ended up eating Chinese Food (go figure, all the way to Geneva and we eat Chinese food). It wasnt the best Chinese Food Ive ever eaten, but it filled up my tummy. We walked around abit to see our surroundings, and we discovered that there are quite a bit of restaurants in the vicinity of our hotel. There was Swiss food, American, Mexican, Thai, Korean, Chinese, Japanese, Italian and so on and so on. I cant wait to try them out!

On Saturday afternoon I followed a suggestion of a friend to go to the Plain Palais which has a weekly Flea Market. Unfortunately I arrived as they had started to pack up their stuff. It was a very nice day, the sun was out, the sky was blue (it was beautiful and so are you: Beatles). People were chatty, kids were running around. A flea market as I would have dreamed it would be. I ended up buying a used novel.

Plain Palais

That evening I had dinner on my own. I wanted to try the local cuisine and something Ive always wanted to try but havent had the chance: Fondue. I walked in at about 18:00, sat down, and tried my best to order the fondue. Fortunately the waiters English was much better than my French. I got my drink and my fondue.
After about halfway through, I started feeling a bit tipsy. I took a really good look at the menu and discovered that they mixed beer with the cheese for the fondue. Ah, no wonder, but i finished it up anyway.

Fondue

I’m going to write a bit more about my culinary adventures rather than my actual walking around, since I have done more eating than walking!

Another friend and I happened upon an Italian restaurant near where we are having our daily meetings, so we decided to give it a try. We had some seafood soup and a mushroom and cheese pizza. The pizza’s not very Italian but it was very fresh, very fresh and very big. The waiter said it was for one person. Apparently one very large person! I can put away a fairly large pizza, but this one I could only eat half.

The pizza…The pizza…

Posted by: xtrhic | November 1, 2007

Neutrality 1

SwissflagI’m in Switzerland today. I arrived a few days ago in Zürich on a flight from Singapore. The flight was, interesting, for lack of a better word. I used the airlines’ internet check in facility. I chose a window seat at the back of the airplane, an Airbus 340-500, which was only 2 abreast. With any luck, I thought, I would be alone.
I was alone, as it turned out, but the seat did not recline. Well, it did recline just a little bit, but not as much as the seat of the person sitting in front of me. So I had an 10″ LCD screen about 7″ from my face. Not my idea of widescreen entertainment.

I do need to comment about the entertainment console. Aside from the 10″ screen, the controller, which had a mini qwerty keyboard, was placed in front of me, below the LCD screen. Usually the controller is set into the arm rest beside you. For smaller ended people, this is not an issue. For the other side of the spectrum, its a bit of an issue. You have to wrangle it out of its socket and try to find a place for it without a)dropping it on the floor or b)dropping into the lap of the person sitting next to you (unless you need a conversation starter).the new controller

Next to the LCD screen, was an RCA jack for video input. I guess you could plug in your iPod video and watch whatever movies you have on the large LCD screen. Below the RCA jack, was a USB jack so that you can retrieve and save your work (more on this later). Below the RCA jack was an RJ-45 Ethernet port. This last port I could not figure out. They didnt have any literature regarding this port at all. I tried asking the Stewards/ Stewardesses but I did not learn anything at all.

There were 3 sets of buttons on the lower part of the LCD, brightness, power and a light with several preset brightness settings. This I thought was a capital idea so that you do not need to turn on the overhead reading light and wake up your next seat neighbors as well as the row ahead and behind you to see which button was which on the remote or to search in the seat pocket or whatever.

Turning on the units was by the power button. You will then be greeted with several icons: entertainment, music, kids, work, navigation.
You could probably guess what they all mean, but i would like to pull your attention to the Work icon. Selecting the icon (via the joystick like button on the controller) will bring you to a version of Open Office provided by Sun Microsystems. You can then open, edit, create office documents and save them to your USB memory stick that you have plugged into the receptacle to the right of your LCD. You can then use the mini qwerty keyboard on the reverse side of the controller. The experience of typing on the mini keyboard is very similar to text messaging rather than real typing, but it seems to be a rather large leap in the right direction. No longer do you need to try to fit your large screen laptop on the minuscule tray table and fight with the person in the seat in front of you when he reclines and squishes you hand with your own laptop screen and keyboard. Ironically, a 220V AC receptacle is provided at the forward part of your arm rest, just below the headset jacks. I wonder if anyone has accidentally plugged in their headset into the power port.

Ok, back to the trip. I twisted in my seat trying to find a comfortable position to watch the plethora of movies and at the same time, to add distance from the LCD screen. One good thing about sitting at the very back is that you always get the food first. The flight was a bit bumpy, and they cancelled food service twice and the captain ordered the crew to return to their stations because it was so bumpy, but not until after they had served my row and the row ahead of it.

The rear end of the plane vibrated quite a bit. Not just up and down, but left and right as well. This happened several times in the flight, once as we were above the Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Caspian Sea etc. and again as we came over Greece then finally on final approach. Wasnt too fun, but for some reason, I wasnt afraid.

We landed at 7:05 in the morning, it was about 4deg C outside. Stepping out of the plane into the airport it was quite a shock. I had on only a t-shirt, a flannel shirt and a thin jacket. Got through customs quite easily, then on to the rail station. Bought a round trip ticket, then waited for the 9:13 to Geneva (direct, no changing trains). There was an earlier train, but I had to change trains which i didnt want to do since I had such a huge suitcase.

At first I did not get a seat on the train. But as we stopped at a station, some people got off, and I was able to park my suitcase and grab a seat. I curled up with a book and my iPod, and nodded off. The conductor woke me to check my ticket. It was already 11am.
It was pretty cloudy outside, so most of the scenery was a drab gray. The scenery between Zurich and Geneva was interesting, mostly picturesque small European towns, rolling hills, lots of big cows. Then as we approached Geneva, views of the Switzerland lakes came about. It was pretty. I was still to groggy to pull out my D70, so i tried using my K800i. Crappy.

We pulled into Geneva exactly as the schedule had printed. I hauled out my suitcase, put on my jacket and my backpack and stepped onto the platform. I followed everyone else to the exit and found myself out on the street. I saw my hotel from where I was standing and began to walk there. It had started to warm up a bit, but it was still windy, so it still felt like it was 4-6 deg C. Checked into the hotel and i unpacked: hung my dress shirts, put away my valuables (what little there is), setup my toiletries.

I put on a heavier sweater and then I went out to look for food. I had seen a familiar logo as I was stepping out of Gare Cornavin, one that some might associate with Global Capitalism. I decided to get a quick lunch there, take a reconnaissance tour then crash back at the hotel.

I slept for a couple of hours till about 6PM, then I woke up, channel surfed, then went back to bed sans supper. More tomorrow… if I feel up for it.

Posted by: xtrhic | September 20, 2007

Nuclear Energy in Indonesia

For the 4th most populous nation in the world, that is still “developing”, I personally think that nuclear energy is the way to go.
Why?

  1. fossil based fuels are running low (10 more years so they say), and the govt is planning on further reducing its subsidies., making it even more expensive.
  2. wind and solar energy are still only 40% efficient (triple junction solar panels are only 30% efficient, im giving an extra 10% just in case somebody develops something in the next 4-5 years). Extremely expensive to develop and deploy.
  3. Water based power generation will cause somebody to point out somewhere there is an endangered species or significant historic thing that will be drowned if we make more dams. Besides, water is a touchy subject now. Too little and you die. Too much and you die too..
  4. Fuel cells still not at a financially feasible point. (Or are the oil companies holding us back? hmmmm)
  5. Geothermal sites are still few and far between. Not really sure where this is now. I know Indonesia’s got a few sites going.

how will indonesia make its transition to a “1st world” nation? or an “emerging nation” if we do not have the energy to power our factories? we have nothing else to sell. We have (are still) depleting our natural resources too fast for the poor earth to regrow them (biological only, not so for minerals and fossil by-products.

Talk about govt corruption and complacency as a reason not for us (indonesia) to have nuclear energy? well, take a look at the nations that do have nuclear, and tell me they are not corrupt as well? the US? Russia? China? *North Korea*?? but 2 (or 3) wrongs dont make a right, as long as the corruption watchers are on their toes *and* the plant is thoroughly inspected prior to commissioning, i’m very optimistic.

Earthquake prone zone. I think its possible to find an area that is relatively quake free. Definitely forget about Java, Sulawesi and Sumatra. Plus most likely we will have learned a lot from the other nuclear plants. Chernobyl, that was built in 1977, with Russian technology dating perhaps in the 1960’s. Surely we’ve learned something since then??

Safety and Law. I think in the end money talks. Get good conscientious employees (of any nationality), pay them well, and let them lead the way. Oops, wrong song. Most oil companies in indonesia have decent if not good safety records, and most of their OSHEA staff are indigenous.

I would support no nuclear power in Indonesia *if and only if* the whole world agrees to do away with nuclear power and nuclear weapons. I really think its not fair if Indonesia is singled out and thereby preventing or removing Indonesia’s opportunity to finally “lepas landas”.

This was taken from my other blog.

Posted by: xtrhic | September 12, 2007

Dear Little Sarah,

Everyday we hope and pray for your recovery. We know its a tough and trying job, but we know you can do it. We are also praying so that your mom and dad will be comforted, strengthened and given hope.
We look forward to the day when we can hear your laughter, share your joy, listen to your stories and maybe even play with you.
We long for the day when we can read your dad’s blog about you, perhaps even one day we can even read your own blog with your own thoughts and writings.

Dear little Sarah,

please remember that although we haven’t met, we are all so fond of you. We all want the best for you and your family.
So please little Sarah, get well.
You can take your time, we know little babies can get tired, so gather up all your energy and fight that illness. But don’t take too long, we want to see you smile, laugh and play as soon as you can.

Sent with lots of hugs and kisses from all you uncles and aunts from the Kampoeng Gadjah.

Posted by: xtrhic | September 6, 2007

Oh my countrymen

Ignorance is bliss…

Why do you jeopardize your safety?
Why do you think that is safe for you?
Why do you think that is safe for others?
Why did the driver allow you to do that?
Why did the police not stop you?

Posted by: xtrhic | September 5, 2007

The photo

Just FYI the photo above was taken at Citeluk about a month ago.

Posted by: xtrhic | September 5, 2007

Butsweigh…

Damn buswayz! I took the busway home from work today. Close to the end of the first leg, the bus was well beyond the maximum number of people allowed on the bus which I think is 85. At the 2nd to last stop, nobody got off the bus and 2 people snuck in the back entrance, pushing me and the other 80-odd people further and deeper in the bus. I thought ok, this will get better at the next stop.

Was I ever wrong. I think wronger might even be a better word for it.

The next stop was a transfer station, and when the bus got there, it was as if Burger King was handing out free Whoppers. The bus station was full. It seems the buses heading out of that station were all delayed somewhere along the route before that station. Now keep in mind these are elevated platforms, so that people can just step aboard the bus without having to go up steps. So now Im standing on the platform, again in a mosh-pit like squalor. No buses heading the East.

10 minutes later…

Still no buses heading East, but another 2 buses drop off another 80 or so people at the bus stop and none of them are alighting from the platform.

15 minutes later i had enough of the human sardine imitation, i pushed and shoved my way towards the exit and out onto the street. free at last. i walked over to the corner of the street and hailed an approaching taxi and headed home.

Wouldn’t you know it? As i got into the cab, there was the East bound bus.

Posted by: xtrhic | September 5, 2007

woohoo!

yaaay! i’ve got a WordPress blog! \:D/

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