My mother always boils new glasses and plates. Says it made them stronger.


Just a couple of months ago I had a laboratory experiment in polymer making. The goal was to make  urea-formaldehyde, which was mostly used as adhesives in plywood industries, for laminating, coating, molding, casting, lacquers, textile finishing, etc. Urea-formaldehyde is a thermosetting plastics or termosets, which is a class of polymers that are irreversibly cured (by heat, hence the name). After it is cured, it is resistant to acid and base, and cannot be melted nor re-shaped. It cannot, therefore, be recycled.

But the polymer used in kitchenware is not urea-formaldehyde, it is its brother, melamine-formaldehyde. Somehow, during the meetings with the module lecturer who is ever so obscure (although thankfully not annoying…he has the assistant who is already too annoying), we got into talking about kitchenware.

“What are kitchenwares made of?”


“No. Polymers. The ones you can put in a microwave.”


“That’s right. Now, what did you do before using them?”

“Um…”     *contemplate on whether or not to answer “Clean them”, but then again, that sounds too stupid even for me*

“What would the elderlies do?”

Now he’s asking what my Grandma would do?

“Boil them?”

“Yes, that’s right. Do you know why?”


Apparently, it is to release the formaline in the kitchenware. In the process of making melamine-formaldehyde, melamine and formaldehyde are mixed, just like in the process of makin urea-formaldehyde, urea and formaldehyde are mixed.
And of course, there is always an excess of reagents. In this case, excess formaldehyde (a.k.a formalin, the chemical used to preserver biological specimen which includes dead people, will vaporized in heat. The formalin is trapped in the solid structure of the melamine-formaldehyde polymer, but will be release when the formalin turns into vapor and leaves the solid 3-D structure into the air.

This happens when heat is involved, say…when you put hot meal into your brand new melamine plate. The formalin released will then be absorbed by you. That will not do, will it?

That is why we boil new plate and glasses.


Two of my many favorite things in the world, combined! What could be better? LOL

Check it out, especially for those who keep looking for a real-life projection of Fitzwilliam Darcy after reading Pride and Prejudice…like moi… =p

And for those who twits:

I Like

July 19, 2009


kebaya Anne Avantie

What d’you think?

(The sudden interest in kebaya is from the photos of seniors who graduated yesterday. Congrats guys!!!)

Life Lesson

July 13, 2009

Live and learn, so one says.

Life here has taught me one new thing today.

Be thankful.


And as always, I have some obscure reason behind this.

I am currently living in a very nice boarding house. With in-room bathroom even though it has no door. With air conditioning even though I have to pay for the electricity at the end of the month. With rice twice a day, morning and night. With laundry.

But it was a 25 minutes’ walk to factory, and another 25 minutes’ back.

Well, 20 ifyou can walk with an athlete’s pace. Or if you are really really really late. Which is usually it in my case. =p

So…to really live up to the zero calorie lifestyle -which means no calorie out in the form of exercise, working out, or WALKING, I went looking for a new boarding house earlier today.

I found one, which costs a quarter of the one I’m living in now. The room is a teeny bit larger than mine. It’s really just…


It has this smell…of really really really old house…like dampness, or fungi, or simply of depression. It kinda looked like it could fall down any moment.

Or I’m just exagerating, or imagining things, I don’t know.

But THEN, that’s not even the best part.

There’s the three communal bathroom for 20 boarders. Which smells horridly of public bathroom. You know, urine and all. I get the shudders just thinking about them now.

That’s not the best part either.

The cleaning lady showed me around the place, then there was this well. With a pail, and a wheel and all things I don’t know the name of that belongs to a hand-drawn well.

“This is for laundry.”

“Oh.” *an interested oh*

“Boarders do their own laundry here.”

“Oh.” *the I-understand oh*

“But for the bathrooms, the water is supplied from pipes.”


I couldn’t have gotten out of there faster.

Pada suatu hari Sabtu  yang cerah…

By ‘cerah’ I mean really really really sunny.

Just like every other day here I s’pose…

Jadi, ceritanya, penulis naik angkot pertama yang berhenti. Penulis sedang berjalan, di bawah terik matahari yang jelas saja menjengkelkan penulis, meningkatkan risiko melanoma, belum lagi (yang paling penting) bikin kulit item (:P). So, ketika ada angkot hijau berhenti di depan penulis, penulis langsung bertanya kepada supirnya, “Ke Joyoboyo, mas?”

Ceritanya Joyoboyo itu terminal bis dan angkot di Surabaya, di mana angkot segala jurusan berhenti di sana. Mau ke Tunjungan Plaza naik angkot ke Joyoboyo terus nyambung bis. Mau ke stasiun kereta api juga naik angkot ke Joyoboyo terus nyambung apa lah… Joyoboyo itu kayak Pintu Ke Mana Saja-nya Doraemon, only less, less, less, really less convenient.

Si supir mengiyakan. Maka penulis membuka pintu depan dan duduk di sebelah supit, karena meskipun supirnya item gondrong dan make kacamata item, harusnya tetap lebih aman duduk di depan.

“Tujuannya mau ke mana ini?”

Penulis menyebutkan tujuannya.

“Oooh…kalo itu sih, dari Joyoboyo naik lagi. Nanti angkot ini ke Wonokromo, di seberang Wonokromo jalan dikit udah Joyoboyo, mbak.”


“Mbak tinggal di mana?”

“Hmm…? Kutisari.”

“Ooh…Kutisari? Dari dulu di sana?”

“Ooh…engga, saya asli Medan.”

“Hooo…Medan? Jauh ya…” *Ooops…* “Udah lama di Surabaya?”

“Mmmm…udah, mas.”

“Kerja di sini?”


“Kerja di mana?”

Penulis menyebutkan nama pabrik.

“Hooo…gajinya gede dong?”

*More oops*

“Wah, saya ga digaji, mas, cuman kerja praktek di sana.”

“Ah, masa iya?”


“Berapa lama kerja prakteknya?”

*hampir menjawab dua bulan*

“Ngeee…belum setahun kok, mas.”

“Ooh…belum…belum lama dong… Sendirian?”

“Engga, ama temen.”

“Ngekos di sini?”


“Sekamar  berdua?”

“Engga, sendiri.”

“Loh, tadi katanya ama temen.”

Bawel deh!

“Temen saya cowo, mas, masa sekamar berdua?”


Gw sumpel mulut lo…

“Namanya siapa, mbak?”

*Pura-pura ga denger*

“Namanya siapa, mbak?”

“Errrrr… Evi.”



“Saya ga jahat kok, mbak.”

*Tertawa* “Iya, mas.”

Ya iyalah mas, maling ngaku, penjara penuh.

“Saya ga jahat, mbak.”

“Iya, mas” *tertawa*


“Namanya beneren Eva?”

“Iya, mas.”


*tadi gw ngomong…*


Road Trip!

July 8, 2009

It’s election day!

So it is just natural to take a road trip to Bromo mountains! =p

The thing is, none of us can actually vote. No one had taken the trouble to take care of the papers needed (since we’re all not from East Java and now all of us are stranded in East Java…).

Besides, road trip beats election day anytime. =p

It started at 10 PM, from Surabaya to Gresik, and to Surabaya again (-_-“), and then Pasuruan.

At least I thought so. I was asleep pretty much the whole time. LOL

One thing I can tell you is, it’s really cold. Like really, really cold there, so it’s a good idea to wear gloves. And socks and SHOES. And really thick jackets.

I bought some ugly IDR5000 gloves from a kid there, but I didn’t wear shoes, so…

I kept thinking about those people whose toes just fell off from frost-bite. Yeah, I know that’s a little bit overreacting, but still, my toes are quite numb from the cold. I kept wriggling them, the image of the black, dead toes kept on playing inside my head. Talk about paranoia.

And one other thing I will definitely have brought, had I know it’s going to be that dusty: masks

Or just about anything to cover my nose and mouth with.

The path to the stairs that led to the top of the mountain is so dusty, and the horses that passed to and from the stairs didn’t help either.

All in all, it was an experience. The sunrise was beautiful after all. But it was not an experience I’d like to experience again anytime soon. Say…another three years? Or make it four.

Or five, come to think about it…