Monday, April 27, 2009

Casualty of Love

Last week mom bought a couple (male and female) of Betta Fishes, also known as Siamese Fighting Fish, to accompany the male red tail one we already have. The male one is blue veiltail which has been develop through selective inbreeding, the female has natural coloration which is about twice as big as the male in size.

I dont know whose idea was it, but it was decided to put the new ones in the same bowl so they could procreate. Well I figured a little loving in this house wont hurt anyone.

Boy I was so wrong.

Yesterday I was passing by their bowls when I saw the male chased the female and she kept ignoring him and quickly moved to the other side of the bowl. I remember thinking, how it wasnt that much different than human.

A couple hours later I checked on them and I was shocked finding that beautiful blue fish almost belly up. His tail was damaged, his left eye almost out of its socket, some parts of his body was injured. She attacked him! By the look of his injuries, she did it repeatedly! Talk about bitchiness.

So we moved him to another bowl, and by the look of it he's recovering by day.

But since we still have another male, and our resident expert, Rudy, said that she is full of eggs, we are now putting them together. Now, this male is a bit smaller than the female, and in the first instance he didnt seem interested, or maybe he saw what happened to the other guy and got scared of her. I seriously thought that fish is gay, cause he didnt do anything. He didnt chase her, nor started making bubblenest.

But a night with this fox apparently changed him a bit. His bubblenest is massive. I am not sure if it's for mating, or for his hiding place. The last time I checked he was under it, alone. She was else where. But I am happy to report that he is in one piece.

I hope this time, there's no more casualty.

Sunday, April 26, 2009


I was about 12 years old when I had my first proper cold bird's nest dessert. It was a treat. I remember how expensive it was, I had to share it with my cousin. I was told that it's difficult to get swallow's (or was it swiftlet's? Anyway in Indonesian we call it walet) nests from caves therefore the price is high. If I remember correctly, this strands of salivary laminae cement tastes like jelly. It supposedly good for your immune, increase you libido, etc, etc. Dont ask me if it's true.

Nowadays, it is easier getting these nests. If you see tall buildings with no windows in some places -mostly in areas near the sea, those are nesting-houses. Most of them are not painted, I was told birds prefer it that way.

When I was in Rawajitu, Lampung. I met this guy, Wawan who showed me around and telling me about this business. This big business. Apparently such building can generate more than 250 million rupiah ($250000) every 40 days! No wonder on the way to Rawajitu you can see nesting houses everywhere between the paddy fields.

It is interesting to know that while the co-op for the fishermen is not working well, wealthy nesting-house owners are setting up a co-op. I hope it works out.

At the back of the house that I visited, they transferred their old kitchen to a nesting-place ever since there was a swallow building a nest in it a while back. They closed up the windows, doors, and later on building up above it, and also the room next to the old kitchen to make room for more nesting-place. They only left out 1 door that only be opened every 40 days to harvest those nests. Inside they put racks upon racks for nesting and resting and also some irrigation. The rest are just tiny holes for circulation of air.

These birds loves dark cold place to nest. They go out early in the morning just after dawn and travel miles and miles away for food. I was told that each day they travel about 3000km looking for flying insects before coming back around dusk. 3000km a day! It took me 2 weeks to do that far while I was in Lampung!

Although it seems easy enough, I know people who has these houses without any bird ever lived in it for years. There are houses left empty for more than 5 years and still no bird. As it turns out, in order to attract these birds, people also use recoding of these bird and also spraying bird's 'fragrance'. Ok, fragrance is not the right word, odorant is more like it. I have no idea what it was, perhaps its pheromone or worst: bird's poop. The point it, it attracts bird to come to your building and nest. People spent good money for these. They even use witch doctor! I wonder why there are no Bird whisperer around.

The house that I visited harvests about 3 kg every 40days. From that they earn about $3000. Not bad. Not bad at all. It's a very good business considering you dont have to feed them, just build that house, keep mice and eagle away from it and probably also pay someone to guard it, as there are lots of bird's nest robbers around. If you manage to get some birds in the house, it's a gift that keep on giving.

During harvesting they always left out some eggs for regeneration, and some they collect for consumption. Too bad when I was there they dont have any left. I was told its very tiny, about 0.5 cm. To eat it you just soak it in boiled water for 10 minutes, and you can eat all of it, including the eggshell.

Eventho it's good for the economy, a lot of people found those nesting-houses are hideous and ruining the view, especially when they are built in the middle of paddy fields. I think the local government needs to regulate the area that can be used for this, so it would be a win-win situation. In Rawajitu they tend to build them in blocks, some are in the middle of residential area (if you can call that residential area), some in the middle of paddy fields, while in Lampung Timur it's more spread out. I prefer the Rawajitu approach, it is less intrusive.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Tried and Tested

Apparently doing recycling is not something new at Disney. They've been doing it for ages now with their cartoons. It makes sense. It's cheaper doing rotoscoping than doing it from scratch. It's like making one movie, and tracing it over and over again with different 'dressing'.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Last wish and Sperm

Reading this article, I cant help but wondering the limit of honoring one's last wish. I cant believe I am writing this, but as much as I support people using spermbank, I found using dead person's sperm is over the top. While not all children created using sperm donor know who their donors are, but at least the donor gave out his sperm willingly (what ever their reasons were.), not with the help of some technician at the morgue.

I am sure that lady in the article would love her baby dearly as her last connection to the dead boyfriend. But I think it's not right to have a child knowing full well that the father is already long dead when he/she was conceived. It goes against nature in so many level. It's not the same as unknowingly carrying one's child when the father died.

It is even weirder with the second story in the article. Harvesting one's sperm so that she has the option to carrying his will to have children. Where does it end?

Is it just me becoming more conservative or the world's gone bonkers?

Friday, April 17, 2009

Sound of Music

I wish I was there...So cool! It happened on March 23rd 2009 at Antwerp Train Central Station.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Masih cewe?

I kept getting that question in Lampung. At first it was very puzzling to be asked like that. Mind you, in Jakarta it means "are you still a girl?". Of course I looked at the lady who asked funny before replying "well, the last time I checked I still am". They laughed.

Turns out she meant "are you still single?", which come to think of it, my reply still holds :P

Being in Lampung, they started saying that they are going to pray for me. Sweet.