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Kids birthday gift ideas (NOT)

Thinking of something for your kid for their birthday? How bout surprising them with some of these ideas?

- TASER X3 triple shot
Good way to teach them about how the police can subdue unruly people without truly hurting them. Hey, isn’t that kinda like teaching them about not always using force to get your way? Diplomacy training for kids :)

- Mount a 100″ TV in the ceiling
This will definitely make you a mom/dad of the year candidate, and also set yourself up for some obesity/eye problems in the future. Hey, at least you’re gonna keep them home a lot this way.

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Facebook acting weird?

Is it just my internet connection or has Facebook been acting weird today? Throughout the day I’m met with errors when trying to load pages from Facebook. Sometimes it loads, and sometimes it just fails.

Are Indonesian FBers really that influential such that a bomb in Jakarta could bring the mighty Facebook to its knees? :)

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Explosions in Jakarta – Mega Kuningan / Marriot – Ritz

It seems there has been some explosions in the Mega Kuningan area in Jakarta. The newspapers have been saying Marriot/Ritz Carlton. Haven’t seen any detailed news yet. Not sure if these are terrorist attack bombs or pranksters.

Something’s weird about these bombs. Professionals would’ve picked a better time when there were lots of crowds. Why bomb in the morning when there are only a few people around? Maybe someone has something against Manchester United instead? (Note: Manchester United is sending a team over to play an Indonesian team within the next few days, and would’ve been staying at the Ritz)

Update:
- Looks like real bombs. First one happened at the Ritz, blowing up 2nd fl and parts of the 3rd.
- 2nd one blew up near Sailendra in Marriot, not sure about the extent of this one.
- Coverage has been focused on Ritz.
- President SBY has visit the location to see the extent of the damage.

Update 2:
- It seems the Marriot bomb happened first, followed by the Ritz.
- The explosion at the Ritz was more explosive and damaging, hence the coverage bias.

Update 3:
- President SBY was scheduled to visit the location, but has cancelled the plans and will hold a press conference instead.
- There have been 4-6 casualties, and many more injured. (Including foreigners)
- The President Director of Holcim Indonesia has been killed in the explosion.

Update 4:
- Another bomb seemingly has exploded near the Muara Angke tol gate (TVOne – unconfirmed by others yet, Twitter is full of this news)
- MU possibly cancelling it’s trip to Indonesia.

Update 5:
- The explosion near Muara Angke was not a bomb, it was just a car fire [Link]

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Random ramblings of the day

BK tests Motion Power kinetic energy harvester
[via: Engadget]
I think this is pretty cool. The government of Indonesia should learn a thing or two from this and implement this all through Jakarta :). It would generate tons of energy and save a lot of money in the process.

HTC Hero
[via: Engadget]
I’d love to have this HTC be my next cellphone, but man is it expensive (499 Euro or Pounds, I forgot).

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Stupidity of the day

*sigh*.. one of those days.

Here’s the situation:
- I have an Indonesian credit card, have been using it with no problems for the last few months. I used it last night with no problems at all at a restaurant in Jakarta.
- On the 10th of July (last week), I authorized a charge for my transcript request from my university in Canada. It got rejected.
- I have a recurring charge for Facebook Ads (US based) that goes on my credit card every week or so. And for the last 6 months or so, has had no problems whatsoever.
- On the 14th of July (last night), the Facebook charge failed.

Logically thinking:
- Credit card is working fine in Indonesia up to the 14th.
- Credit card is refused in Canada on the 10th.
- Credit card is refused in US on the 14th (when it was working fine the last 6 months).
- There must be something wrong with this card’s processing foreign based charges.

The call to customer service (please allow me to do this beforehand: @#$^@#$&^@#$&@#$&#$&!@#$&!#$^!#$&):
Me: (Explained the situation above to her)
CS: Please hold, our system is slow
Me: …
<5 minutes later>
CS: Thanks for holding, according to our records, the problem is from the Canadian side, please ask them to try again.
Me: Really? Then how do you explain the failure from Facebook (US) on the 14th?

[Repeat these next 4 lines about 3 or 4 times]
CS: Not sure, please try again, and if it fails, call us again.
Me: That doesn’t make sense, it failed on the 10th in Canada, it failed on the 14th in the US, 2 different countries, 2 different institutions. It must be your system that’s having problems.
CS: It’s the overseas system that failed. That’s what I’m told by our people, please ask them to try again and call us again if it fails again.
[Sigh, apparently these people cannot think for themselves and are just parrots repeating their higher up parrots who just cannot be bothered to get off their asses and check what's actually wrong]
Me: And what difference would that make? Why can’t you just check it now?
[End repeat]

CS: Our system is slow, please call back again if it fails.
Me: …

Conclusion:
- Indonesian customer service is crap, just like any other public facing service here, be it government or private.
- It seems people here are not trained to think at all (as proven by that repeat loop in the middle of my conversation). Maybe they’re required to have their brain taken out before they can apply for customer service positions.
- Customer service in Indo just shoves the problems aside and hopes it goes away (note: no, it doesn’t) or the people needing service get tired enough of their stupidity that they get frustrated and quit trying to find answers through customer service.
- I’m still @#$&^@#&^@#$&@#$&@#$&@#$&@#&@#%&@#&.

Thanks for reading.

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Sore losers

In 2004, when SBY was elected president, the ousted president refused to offer the president elect any sort of congratulatory note, save some obscure comment made in an unofficial manner.

Fast forward 5 years to 2009, Indonesia just finished the presidential election, and quick counts are showing that SBY again beat this former-president and her current vice presidential candidate for the position. And yet again, before the official results have been published, the camp of this former president is spitting venom, claiming that the counts are invalid etc.

I just can’t understand how presidential candidates in this country can have little manner and knowledge. Don’t they know the law of averages? OK, say that there are indeed irregularities over the entire country, and all the missing votes or invalid votes or whatever counted for only this particular “president wannabe”, would it still be able to overcome a 60% – 25% difference in current count? Are they trying to say that the incumbent has somehow managed to cheat at this process?

Consider that scenario for once: if indeed they are playing money games, and someone could buy out votes, wouldn’t this former president with her vice president wannabe be able to out-buy the votes? After all, in terms of riches, they are far richer than the incumbent (last reported, the complainers had at least 1.5 trillion rupiahs in total wealth compared to the incumbent and his vp choice – about 20 billion rupiahs, – about 75 times as much).

So what could they be complaining about? I don’t have a clue, I plain think they’re just sore losers, and thank goodness the Indonesian people could see them as they are.

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One round presidential election in Indonesia

(It seems) that our incumbent president, Mr. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono will retain his position for the next 5 years as expected. The only thing I didn’t see coming was a one round election (Indonesia’s election goes up to 2 rounds if any candidate fails to gain 50% of the votes). I actually expected the other 2 candidates to put up more of a fight. I guess that shows just how much I know about politics :).

I just regret that when Indonesia’s stock market surges ahead tomorrow, I didn’t have the foresight to buy any yesterday.

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Magnificent Wimbledon 2009 final,well done Federer, tribute to Andy Roddick

At the beginning of Wimbledon 2009, nearly everybody (including me) was seemingly ready for Roger Federer to break Pete Sampras’ record of 15 Grand Slams (well, maybe except for the British people who were expecting Andy Murray to claim this one :) ). And for the first few rounds, it seemed that nobody would be able to withstand Fed-Ex’s determination to get to No.15.

Somehow as the tournament went along, Andy Roddick’s story started to grow on me. For so long, he has been one of the most consistent men on the ATP tour, and yet a lot of people seem to have written him off, partly due to his big serve making him seem like it’s the only thing in his game, and partly because of the rise of the other names like Nadal, Murray and Djokovic.

One thing that Roddick never did though, was quit. He just kept on persevering, re-inventing his game bit by bit, and just played the game. When he reached the semi’s, few would’ve thought he’d have a chance against Andy Murray, the British crown favorite and rising star. I thought to myself at that point, “Roddick probably cannot win this one, but if indeed his game has evolved and he’s playing better than ever, maybe there’s just a slight chance that it’ll be Federer vs Roddick on Sunday, coz the guy just keeps on fighting”.

Well then, Roddick did indeed beat Murray to earn the honours of facing Federer in the final, and what a magnificent one it was. 5 sets where neither man backed out, and ending with a 16-14 set. On that day, I really wished Wimbledon could award a “double champion” pedigree, because I really thought both men deserved it. But in the end, it seemed destined that Federer would win no.15, and he truly is a Greatest Of All Time candidate.

At the beginning of the tournament, imagining someone other than Federer winning Wimbledon 2009, with history so close for the making, would just sadden me. But seeing Andy Roddick and his never say die attitude, incredible work ethic, and amazing perseverance, fight toe to toe against Federer, I honestly wouldn’t have felt to bad had Andy won this match.

Hats off to you Andy, you truly have the heart of a champion.

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So quiet

It’s been so quiet here I thought I’d start blogging again now and then.

Thoughts for today:

- Go Federer!!! Fed-Ex has been playing as well as anybody in Wimbledon. I guess championship no. 15 is in his sights and nothing stopping him in trying to get it. We’ll see if Tommy Haas or Andy (Murray/Roddick) has anything to say about that. Judging from his focus and flawless play so far, it’ll be 15 and counting by Sunday.

- If you haven’t seen it, check out some of my wife’s jewelry creations at http://www.JulieRochili.com .

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