Friday, March 31, 2006


We're past the second week of our Jakarta life, and it just barely feels like we live here. We’ve been living and working out of a hotel in Jalan Jaksa, which is a seedy little street that caters to backpackers. The only work we’ve actually produced here has been voice-over.

Recording tracks has been a plague of unfortunate events. Over the course of one oddysseian 24 hours period last week, we tried to read an assignment that should have taken us just a few hours. At first, a yappy little dog outside our window seemed to cleverly interrupt only our good takes. That, on top of hotel staff shouting to each other and sometimes even singing pop songs loudly in the hall. Other soundtracks include the call to prayer, which go on for 20 minutes - longer if the callers are particularly inspired – and the bawl of unmuffled two-stroke engines.

As if combustion thunder claps weren’t enough, a monsoon shut us down in the middle of production. Rainfall drummed so loudly on the roof that we couldn’t even hear each other, and the wall of noise was punctuated by a booming sky. When it stopped, workers arrived with tin and ladders to bang out a kluge for the leaking roof.

I’ll post our recording of the ceiling torrent when I can figure out how to post MP3s.

On top of that, we had to navigate a seemingly endless shoal of technical problems. Two computers, but only one working sound card, one working Adobe Audition program, one file sharing device, and not a cord or magic trick to “in the darkness bind them”. It also seemed to take about a half hour to post each sound file over the dopey Wartel internet connection.

(Note to blogreading employers – we seem to have the tech issues worked out. This is not a backdoor complaint to management. Please keep sending us lots of American dollars.)

So work comes with a set of challenges that we’re learning to weather. Finding unexpected factors has always been our expectation.

Speaking of weird assignments, I recorded a newscast in pig latin for WFIU that will air (In shalah) tomorrow morning. If you listen very closely, you’ll probably be able to hear the call to prayer in the background. My life seems to be heading in some strange directions, lately.