Thursday, December 31, 2009

20091231

31 Desember 2007. Saya ada di Siam Park, rasanya sekali-sekalinya waktu itu tahun baru ada acara di luar. Rasanya baru kembali ke penginapan jam 2 malam. Berkesan bukan karena malam tahun baru. Bukan pula karena ada kembang api, atau karena ada DJ dan lantai dansa. Sayangnya, bukan pula karena ada sajian alkohol free-flow. Tapi karena saya mencoba mengalahkan ketakutan saya akan ketinggian. Giant Drop, Aladin, dan Loop the Loop.

31 Desember 2008. Sampai jam 9 malam saya di alun-alun Klaten bersama teman-teman. Setelah itu? Pulang dan tidur.

31 Desember 2009. Kalau saya bisa mengalahkan rasa malas saya, hari ini saya akan belajar setidaknya 3 bab Fisika matematika I, mencoba menulis kode untuk membuat kontur kerapatan gas, dan mungkin melihat-lihat daerah Shijo.

Tapi bagi saya, mau malam tahun baru, ulang tahun, atau lebaran rasanya semua kok sama saja. Dulu waktu di Bandung, paling tidak waktu ada hari libur saya bisa senang karena ada alasan untuk pulang ke rumah. Sekarang sebenarnya saya bisa saja, tapi kok kesannya tidak bertanggung jawab dan menyabotase diri sendiri.

Kalau di Indonesia ada tambahan "bagi yang merayakan" dalam ucapan selamat hari raya keagamaan, maka sepantasnyalah kita juga mengucapkan, "Selamat Tahun Baru, bagi anda semua yang merayakannya."

Apapun yang akan terjadi malam ini, besok pagi matahari akan terbit jam tujuh pagi. Hari Jumat. Yang nampaknya tak ada bedanya dengan Jumat-Jumat yang lalu. Maupun yang akan datang.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

More Books

I was in Bangkok a few months ago, in a group of 6 boys and 6 girls (10 of 12 shown in the right). The trip was financed by campus, so each of us has some money for some shopping. The girls, as expected, went shopping for accessories, dresses, and bags, and shoes, and suitcases, and.. oh, I lost count. Not that the money was that much, but their superior bargaining skill and experience in Pasar Baru and Gasibu has made a difference. The boys? Some went on buying action figures and gundam aside from the obligatory souvenirs for everyone.

Me? After several times of going out of town I have long given up in finding obligatory souvenirs for acquaintances and/or (extended) family. One simply cannot satisfy them. No-one wears the 12US$ t-shirt I bought in Ukraine*, much less the 400IDR t-shirt. People seems to understand that you're traveling in a budget yet whine incessantly when you give them keychains. With that, I only bought things that interest myself. Which lead us to...

More books.

Unlike Manila, however, I didn't find any cheap second-hand book market. So these are what I bought at Kinokuniya Bangkok:
The last two books are now with me here in Kyoto, but the first three are at home in Klaten. There's also another book I bought at Asia Books which I left at home, I haven't gotten around to read it, and I already forgot its title. I think it's Thai Jinxs, but I can be mistaken. If memory serves, the place isn't bigger than its Singapore counterpart, but it'll has to do. Days before when I was in Singapore I had no time to visit Kinokuniya or Borders or that second hand bookshop Nita showed me the first time I was there.

And there's more about the books. Let's leave that for tomorrow. But don't worry, there will be no talk of dismembering organ.

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*to be fair, I did bought the outrageously expensive t-shirts at the airport before leaving the country in vain attempt to spend my remaining hryvnia (UAH). Still, when converted to US$, its tag was at about 12$. Which is not a small amount when you're buying several items.

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Minor book obsessions in the past:

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Vernacular

There is an advantage of not knowing Japanese in Japan. When you're in a social, and everyone knows you don't speak Japanese, it forces them to speak in a lingua franca, English. And when they are conversing among themselves in their vernacular, you have lesser obligation to follow in. Which at most times suits me when I'm not feeling very sociable (occurs more often than you think).

The same thing happened when you're in a group of people who don't share the same vernacular with you. They conversed, in my case it was Mandarin, but I was somewhat OK. They were a group of Chinese and Chinese Malaysian.

As is with everything else in this world, when you have advantages, you also have disadvantages. You catch your professor's name in the conversations, but that was all that is. Had I been able to understand, it'd be easier to follow the latest dirt that would otherwise be unknown to me. There's also the core of socials: jokes. It proves particularly disadvantageous if the people in the socials are the people you want to bond with, but you don't feel like exerting Herculean work to be inside the conversation.

Now the wicked part of my brain says that the most advantageous position would be secretly understand the vernacular language, which then would allow you to indulge yourself in the dirts. But that would require a straight faces when the jokes are thrown.

Oh, vernacular means mother tongue, by the way. It really is a fancy word, isn't it?

(Kyoto-the morning after the department's year-end party, which saw me as the only gaijin out of 40-odd people there.)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Tunes




If you are like 220 millions of earth citizen who happens to own an iPod*, chances are your music collection size is in order of gigabytes. So how big is your collections, and what lies behind all that?

I personally only has a modest-sized music library, mere 11.90 GB in my iTunes library. I used to hoard a lot more than that until I had to let my old laptop go. But the most wonderful thing about personal music players are their ability to provide soundtracks to your (pathetic, mundane, blessedly wonderful) life, and coupled with the power of human memory, to preserve events in the past to be reminisced in the future.

At this point, whenever any song from Travis' The Boy With No Name got shuffled in my iPod, it feels like 2007 again. It feels like retracing steps in Hotel Jayakarta for AUDC, running in anxiety for Astrophysics II final exam, and dozing off during Mathematical Physics II finals. Meanwhile, Imogen Heap's Goodnight and Go reminds me of the cramped travel ride to Lampung, getting intoxicated with carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide during the ferry ride crossing the Sunda Strait. And how weird is that Fort Minor's Enjoy the Silence always reminds me of the first time I was in Singapore? Of the feel of being able to rely on public transportation to get around, and the post event crushing disappointment. I suspect years from now Jonsi - Boy Lillikoi will bring my memory to the long commute to Kyoto.

Meanwhile, as I was a frequent user of the night train to get back home from Bandung, blasting my ears with music was a sure way to keep me awake and not to miss the stop. This might be the reason why I associate Nada Surf and The Fray and Bell with the thought of going home. Feist and Kings of Convenience were the soundtrack to the happy life of TPB, while Death Cab for Cutie's Plans was on heavy rotation after graduation. The tranquil ferry ride to and from Lombok was Phoenix's 1901 and Silversun Pickup's Panic Switch. I can go on.

And I guess this is why karaoke is so popular (no, I am not saying this is necessarily a good thing).

The fact being hip and up-to-date in the newest musics is fun and all notwithstanding, I daresay that most of the tunes in our music players are--I know mine are--of dubious origin. Let's say I'm your average guy. I have thousands of songs in my iPod. And just how many of it are legal download? All I can remember is that my Brooke Waggoner's Fresh Pair of Eyes is legal. As well as several tracks I got from some music blogs I follow. And of course, my Boy Lillikoi is legal. Which is to say, the number (of the tracks with dubious origin) pales in comparison with the overall number. I did a bit of a counting, and if the tracks are priced at flat 99cents/song, then the amounts that I owe to the music industry, is... staggering.

I can blame the availability of the records. Or rather, I could. I guess my being Japan has better chance in finding the albums I would otherwise unable to find in Indonesia. Or me not having a credit card to purchase songs from iTunes Store.

At least the apps are all legal (and free).

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* the use of iPod^ here can be generalized to any Personal Music Players that includes Zune, Creative Zen, Sansa, or even sufficiently sophisticated handphones with gigabytes of memory. Apple's iPhone, Nokia, SE springs to mind.

^ And have you ever pondered how these things were unimaginable just 10 years ago? I guess Arthur Clarke's Law is really true, "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Thousand

My 1000th tweet. I wasn't even consciously counting, but I liked this one: combines my eternal lust for shiny gadgets plus novel use of human appendages as well as simple experiments, while the motive was season-related. So much for 140 character limit.
And yes, I should be studying, not watching The Big Bang Theory, not watching Castle, not watching How I Met Your Mother, not watching ROFL, not tweeting, not blogging. God help me.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Nutjob

Tifatul Sembiring's response on the news reaction to his sermon in Padang: "Saya seperti melakukan 'menyalahkan para korban' jika kesimpulan diambil dari berita-berita tersebut. Padahal tak ada sedikitpun dalam naskah saya bermaksud seperti itu."

From BBC: "A government minister has blamed Indonesia's recent string of natural disasters on people's immorality."

From Jakarta Globe: "[Tifatul Sembiring] saying natural disasters were the result of poor moral values."

So his accusation towards the news channel is mistargeted, as I don't recall any of these news channel that I read quoting him of blaming the quake victims (the commentary from people in twitter is another matter*). He 'merely' made an unwarranted assumption.

These are from his sermon text: "Sesungguhnya ada korelasi langsung atau tak langsung, ada hubungan yang kuat antara musibah fisik dengan musibah moral atau akhlak manusia." Which to me is like saying there is either a direct or non-direct correlation between severe weather with our dress code. In other words, balderdash. It really doesn't mean anything--or can mean anything.

Further, "Sering terjadi bencana, sebab akhlak manusia yang telah rusak." Now he's asserting something. Any half-decent adjudicator (or any educated individual, really) would demand for elaboration and causal link. He spoke earlier of "gempa di NAD dan Nias ... Dan baru saja berselang gempa di Sumatera Barat, ditanah Minang."

So here are the details: "Tengoklah bagaimana kerusakan moral di negeri ini: Baru-baru ini diungkapkan data, bahwa ada 500 jenis VCD porno buatan Indonesia sendiri yang sudah beredar diperjual belikan. Korupsi meraja lela, Indonesia mendapat ranking no 1 terkorup di Asia, dan no 3 terkorup di dunia.**" And it goes on. But that's all. no appeal to logic or anything***. And this is from a minister. In communication, no less.

I mean, really, Sir? Ring of Fire? Fault lines? Ring any bell? What about some solid scientific basis offered by a govt official for a change from the usual scaremongering? (Which is never effective, btw.) Indonesian have been dumbed down by the constant stream of sinetron. If anything, some example from the higher-ups in being rational (and exemplary) would be much appreciated.****

To be fair, this is not unprecedented. A search of "siti supari nuttiness" in Google brought me to this page here. Worthy of quote: "the Indonesian Health Minister is an unconstructive, ignorant, often irrational and bizarre individual." Thankfully, she has been replaced in the new cabinet now. How SBY considers the men (and women) for his cabinet will always be a mystery. And as their boss, he seems to be OK to let this people make Indonesia a laughingstock. No wonder we had #cuih hashtag in Twitter (I didn't vote in presidential election, but I voted his party on legislative election. This blog here was one of my reasons.).

I personally agrees with Rorschach of Watchmen who said that, "It rains on the just and unjust alike."

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* commentary of which I tend to agree. Using linear reasoning based on his assertion that moral decadence causes disaster, or in reverse: disaster will strike those with corrupted moral. Because disaster struck Padang and Nias and Bengkulu, people afflicted with disaster must have been morally corrupt. So if the minister blames moral decadence as the root of disaster, he may as well said that the victims of the quake are to blame for the quake.
** a factual error. Or rather, overusing obsolete facts. Most recent one, spotted in Time, can be found here. I tip my proverbial hat to Karmen. At any rate, corruption does not, and I suspect, will not be the cause of natural disaster. If anything, what it does is escalating the impact of the disaster when it strikes. Man-made disaster is of another matter (still remember Lusi? The govt has all but neglected them).
*** though I can't help but wonder, he knows the number of local porn production but wasn't aware of Blogger's Report Abuse button? Instead he chose to order ISPs to censor access to a certain blog. I read an excellent blog post about that in my RSS reader but now I can't find it. Tsk.
**** Recent confusion caused by MUI on 2012 movie doesn't help. A good read on this issue can be found in here.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Guilt

Guilt is a powerful thing. Otherwise confessional would not exist. Otherwise greenwashing will not be a big deal. Without guilt, I suspect the amount of charity and donations will decrease significantly.

And it's inescapable.

I found Andra's Facebook page. She wrote "Aku ingin keliling dunia." Guilt.

A friend asks how to get scholarship to Japan. Another friend is weighing to apply scholarship to the States. Another covets scholarship to Korea. More guilt.

The Japanese language sensei said that the Japanese's notion of 'the good life' in Japan is to live in Kobe, eat in Osaka, and work/study in Kyoto. More guilt.

Yet here I am, spending weekend after weekend cooped up in the dorm. Racking my brain off for a plausible reason for Lesser Sunda Islands getaway during next year's low season. Avoiding north campus and preferring to try to sleep in the library after language classes.

Yes, guilt is a powerful thing. But sadly, it's not powerful enough.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Homo

I am utterly and thoroughly confused. Lifeless. Frustrated. But not (yet) suicidal.
I am bored. Alone. Silenced. Lost.
I am hopeless. Masked. Disguised.
I am Vanity. Pride. Disdain.
I am a loner. Learner. Fool.
I am weak. Frail.
I err. I fear.
I.. am human.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Mundane

If you have the same question like Wijay here,
Let me show you the latest astro-related article tweeted by NewScientist here.

Excerpt from the article:
I've taken the liberty to highlight the appropriate parts. So yeah, it's actually boring. And just like Koothrappali's remark in one episode of the The Big Bang Theory series, we might be replaced by a simple piece of software.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Being hairless and covering it

On my train ride home, for an unknown combination of stimulants, I suddenly found myself thinking about clothing and dignity. My thinking actually started with a simple question, and I spend the remainder of the train ride trying to answer the question. The question was this:

Why do clothing means so much to human?

Think about it. In our current culture, what we wear define ourselves. What we wear symbolize our dignity. It is not little known that we measure the level of education received by an indigenous society by how they clothe themselves. People from deep Papua forest are often considered primitive simply for their lack of clothing. Even more extreme, children are thought that clothings are what differs man and animal. These points raised other questions, like

Why is koteka unacceptable in modern society? Is civilization inversely proportional with how much of human skin left unclothed?*

Ah, civilization. That word remind me of a paragraph I read in this book. It was about the explosion of Mt. Toba, that immediately cooled down earth temperature. Think of it like the Krakatoa explosion, but with impacts several order of magnitudes higher. The author then at some point explains that the explosion posed new problems to human, which by then has evolved to resemble the present day human, fairly hairless and without internal ability to survive the ice age. It is then only logical that they invent clothing.

What perplexed me is how this process is pretty much irreversible. Why didn't our ancestor ditch the extra layers when it got warmer? Particularly for humans who lived in the tropical area?

At that point my train of thought got stuck, and I have to get off the train to change to another line anyway. So I tried to put the whole thing in a timeline.

Our ancestor was covered in hair. But we evolved to be a fairly hairless species. Pardon me for employing the concept of natural selection banally, as this was pretty much what I remembered from Junior High Biology. Anyway, our evolution from hairy to hairless means that hairless appearance is favored (Why? Is it because Africa--the land the first humans roamed was/is hot that we don't need the hair?).

After we become hairless, catastrophe strikes in the form of cold temperature. To adjust and survive, we then create extra layer of skin. We covered our body.

But then it got warmer. And warmer. And warmer. If clothing was simply for function's sake (cold, put more layer. hot, shed some), we'd be seeing more people in their birthday suit in tropical area. But we don't. It's not reversible.

So why? Is it because we look better in clothing? But if that's the case, a lot of people seem to realize that society frowned upon their choice of outfit, yet they insist on wearing the frowned attire anyway. So it must not be solely society perspective. Now my train of thought got stuck again. I'll accept that I am presently unable to find the reason behind the irreversibility of clothing in human civilization.

But then my attention was shifted. If being clothed is good, why must the opposite equals to embarassment? How did we develop that instinct to cover ourselves (or at least, our nether regions) when we're accidentally caught in our birthday suit? Seeing that infants and newly borns doesn't seem to practice this modesty, it must have been something that is taught and reinforced by their interactions with the adults during their development. But the question why remains. Why does being dignified require our skin to be covered? Why don't human wants other humans to see parts of their body? Even when we introduce the lust-containment argument, i.e. women must cover their skin lest they arouse men, the most fundamental principle why clothing define our dignity is left unanswered**.

In the end, I don't argue that clothing are bad, or that we should all live in nudist colony. I'm just wondering how exactly human civilization got to this state with clothing. And my mind haven't even wandered to the variety of value of different clothing for different people. We live in a world where a Sudanese woman faced the threat of lashing for wearing jeans, a piece of clothing that most of us took for granted. We live in a world where a formal attire for men includes a piece of clothing with no apparent functionality: tie. We live in a society that celebrates differences and condescends those that are too different, say by wearing burqa***. We live, in an absurd world.


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* and if the answer to this question is yes, where that leaves models with skimpy clothes that leaves no room for imagination? Or even porn?
** i.e. why the same thing doesn't apply to men, or why men are being given free pass.
*** I have to admit that I personally feel a bit uneasy with those that do wear burqa.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Natural Selection

"You would think that there will be sadness when you start to pull away from Earth. An ache for the mountains, what's left of the beaches. For the sweet smell of the fresh air.

My guess, there is a little bit of that. But, when you are an astronaut, you start asking your self question like: How the hell did I get here? Is it hard work? Fate? Was it a hand of God?

You ask yourself: Why am I one of the lucky suckers leaving? And not one of the poor bastards being left behind?

I think that the obvious question is simply: what the hell happened?

And the obvious answer is that we do not really know."

For your information, today's blog post is brought to you by Defying Gravity.

"Sometimes, I think that the only natural selection happens in the petri dish.

But, if it's in the petri dish, that's not really natural, isn't it?"

Thursday, October 29, 2009

TMI, or otherwise known as random little things

I have just re-enact a scene from Calvin and Hobbes, the one that involved tsunami in a tub. It then occurred to me that: 1. I should buy a rubber duck. 2. The designer of the room in the house I live in now must have people like me in mind when designed the bathroom. I'm glad the designer did.

The first Japanese word I learned organically is 'tsugi'. You can't help to learn what it is if you hear that word at least 20 times a day during commuting. This is the typical announcement you'll heard on the train: Tsugi wa Chusojima desu. [half a minute later:] Chusojima, Chusojima desu.

I checked my bank account today, and to my delight, I saw 155.000 Yen on the screen. I took 5.000 out of it, as just an hour before I have spent 11.700 on rent. I went to a SMBC cranch near Chusojima, and its surrounding made me happy just to watch it. I have no idea why. Perhaps that street of road remind me of malioboro, in the sense that you get a glimpse of it before the train stops at a station not ten feet away.

In Indonesia, street musician can throw you your 500rp coin back. But here, coins are not worthless. 10, 50, 100, and 500 yen coins can be used in vending machines and train ticket machines. Cheapest food I found is a small weird donut, 40yen.

If my mom ever visit this place, and getting somewhere with local trains, she'll frown with pretty much everybody, as everyone is using 'sumpel kuping'. Yes, you read that right. But I'll show her that these things that goes in the ear aren't the monopoly of the young, as older people also uses it for their PMP and TV-capable handphones.

I have yet to buy a phone. I am torn. I don't think I'll buy an iPhone, unless the one with the biggest capacity. But iPhone will render my iPod Touch and my SE G502 redundant. I don't need to start accumulating electronic waste here. I heard Xperia X3 will be out soon, though.

You get all sorts of people in the trains, though it's nothing like in Indonesia. I have never used Prameks, but I once used the train from Gambir to Depok Baru and the horrifying KRL(/KRD?) ekonomi from Depok Baru to UI. You don't see people smoking, people are civil, no hawkers, and it's brightly lit.

Now I can identify Yamaguchi and Yamada written in Kanji, though I am still lightyears away from able to read advertisement in a glance.

The language course uses the same book I used back in ITB, Minna no Nihongo. But as the participants are more varied, the book is also livelier. There are people from MY, CN, KR, VN, PE, UK, TW, and EG. Ada satu peserta yang menonjol sih, cewe KR, kita sebut saja namanya Ibu Jumu'ah. She's active and confident, and (this one I like) usually come in class after I do.

You see, Friday in the Japanese calendar is usually represented by a Kanji character that has same meaning (I think) with her name, and it's pronunciation is similar too. Ibu Jumu'ah has successfully made me feel inferior, as there was a section on 'at from what hour until what hour you did your activity'. She said she went home from lab (I think) at 9 in the evening. And she also went to the lab on the day of the sun (ahaha). Me? You had me whining not more than three posts ago on nyampah kayak PNS.

Thursday is the highlight of my week. You can smell the weekend near enough, but you're not as lethargic as Friday. The Japanese sensei for Thu is also very active, with flashcard and everything. Granted, at times, her English isn't very good, but she's very helpful and engaging, and creative with the teaching method. It's like back to your happy days at kindergarten.

The first week I got here, the Monday after that, it was holiday. Even better: next Tuesday is also a holiday. Not-as-cool: Test on Monday: Lesson 1 to 5. All instruction will be in kana, not romaji.

I have four sweater from Twig House (half of them are gift from the good people at SEF). And I found out that the one I wear the most often now has a hole in the shoulder seams. Obviously I had no idea how to fix it, but I'll wear it anyway.

Speaking of, I just found out that there's a drama in development back in Bandung. But WHY DOESN'T IT HAPPEN SOONER? I could've used some drama back then.

Still in the topic, I found that an opinion I heard years ago proved true less than a week ago: international debating competition has a VERY STRONG correlation with your financial capability. I have been oversold. Did the fact that I went to some international competition changed anything to be said of my performance other than extremely rusty? Nope.

But the debaters here always had something from the competition: copy of adj sheet (space to explain decision in writing, and two columns for suggestion for each team) and scoring sheet from each adj that adj them in the comp. Somebody should suggest this in Indonesia. Perhaps for record of intercomp, or newbies.

And I think I might have the chance of observing the life of SEF ITB in the past. You see, the union that they have here isn't only focusing on debate, they only had it for once a week. but they have discussion and speech program, and if I had been right in hazarding a guess, drama as well. Memories of fading photograph with cutbray pants that I saw at SEF office now back to life.

But enough about debating. From the desk of mental pembajak dunia ketiga, I am completing download the whole season of Penguins of Madagascar while keeping myself updated with my favorite TV series. I have also been bragged to my sister on hasil mengunduh Brooke Waggoner, Matt and Kim, dan Marina and the Diamonds. You should also give it a try.

I lost my short after laundry day, leaving me one short short for short. After two days intensive search of my room surface, I found it crumpled beneath the pile of futon and the like at the end of my bed.

The weirdest attire I have seen in the train is this one girl yang pake jepit rambut(?) at least 5 biji buat nahan poni, dengan jarak jepit yang satu yang lain simetris, dan membuatnya keliatan pakai flashdisk di kepala. Add that with the fact that this girl was constantly putting make ups with an A5-sized mirror during the whole train ride.

I had a 'seminar' yesterday. an hour, supposedly covers two section. only able to cover half of it, and the worst confusion ensued over the dimension of force (something you had back in 1st year of junior high), and the divergence of a vector. Hegh. Now why does the USyd poster in the library seems so appealing?

Speaking of library, they have the coolest library I have ever seen (I only have seen three library, actually: ITB, NTU, and Kyodai). Masuknya aja harus gesek kartu perpus! It's brightly lit, unlike satu gedung kusam mirip toilet yang ada di gerbang belakang ITB.

After that Malam Indonesia stint last Sunday, I realized that if there's any reason why I don't eat outside is less because of the language barrier (I can just hazard a guess and main tunjuk) but more on the price. One serving of okonomiyaki and a small bottle of coke cost me 1100 yen. GAH! All I thought during dinner was: ini makanan mahal, sayang kalo ga abis.. :( There's a spice that doesn't suit my tongue.

While my lunch today was awesomely priced 514 yen: nasi dalam bowl paling besar yang mereka punya, dua potong ikan goreng yang gede, bola-bola semacam bakso yang gambarnya ayam, dan miso soup. I practically walking away singing after lunch.

There are more random little things, most of it are on the photo description on the pictures in my MyOpera album. See the link on the right side.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Sorely misses old times














Feels like it's been forever since I hang out together with people from Persma. Will I ever got the chance like them? Iri!
Apa kabar ya SC E-02? Masih bocor-kah?

For some of you who don't know them, meet @zulf1kar, otherwise known as Ijul; @pelangisore, or Lija in short; @memorabiria, or Ria, and Mita! Old gang from Sunken Court East 02.

Might be related: Past Woes

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Traffic and Money

I have been a little bit behind with my RSS reading. Well, 4045 new posts from 209 feeds are certainly something. Then I found this, and honestly, my thought was: I never really thought of it that way.

"You didn't crash into other people's car, you didn't do drunk driving, you didn't cause any harm to anybody. You made a turn at a wrong time. It's an honest mistake.

Imagine how many people will have to push the papers because of this. .... All this people, pushing papers."

I've had a couple of run-ins with the police officers. the first time was first year high school: I don't have a license to ride a motorcycle, I stopped at the wrong stop, the officers signalled me to follow them. 

I ended up paying more than 150K IDR on the spot, and I was the laugh of the family for at least a week. Bear in mind, I was naive and scared. Just wanted it to finished. However, I did remember vividly that the officer puts the money inside his cigarette package. I don't suppose the government ever see a dime of it. Ever.

So I learned, and when 2 years after that, I found myself in a similar situation, I prefer to go to the court. I didn't mind, I had reason to skip class. More than happy to oblige. As it turns out, there wasn't so many people at Pengadilan Klaten, and all I had to do was waited until ticket was given to a judge and my name was called. A short lecture afterwards, I found myself ushered to a booth where I have to pay my fine. 20K IDR. Bent on revenge, I have prepared for this: I gave the officer in the booth a plastic bag, filled with spare changes, Rp 100s, 500s, and 1000s. Ha! Now what are you going to do with it? 

Two years after that, in Bandung, I was given a ticket: I was giving a ride to a friend, and with no spare helmet, it was such luck that there's a police officer happened to be in Tamansari crossing. So I got myself another ticket, and I prefer to go to the court. But then I realized it was a waste of time. I mean, at college you can't just easily skip classes. And in Bandung, the courthouse was packed! Think of the sort of event where people are cramming in to receive zakat fitrah when it's near lebaran. But these are people with similar tickets.

The officer who gave me the ticket wrote the date of the trial--if I can call it like that--on a public holiday, so I went there a week after, again with the spare change. But apparently there's no need to go there, as my files were at Police central office, not at the courthouse (due to the date confusion). Here's where it's funny: I had difficulty extracting the changes from my pockets, and after 15.000 IDR fished out and displayed there, the officer took pity. So I paid even lesser amount of fine! 

Though this rises the question, how much is the fine exactly for these sort of thing? I tried to looked it up, but I don't find anything on it (or rather, I don't know where to look). At any rate, this was an inefficient way of sorting out the mistakes people made in the street. Do people learned any lessons from the mistakes anyway? We paid, we got lectured, we're back on the street, slightly poorer, but business as usual. If that's really how it goes, might as well make it all streamlined and easy. And this is how I found the post from Indonesia Anonymus made me feels, "I never really thought of it that way"

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Disclaimer are in order: riding without a helmet is dangerous. Can't really say for myself that I've crashed and without a helmet I'd be dead by now, but protection is what helmets are made for. And as far as riding without a license, I'm not one to give lessons, but I heard the police are making efforts to ensure that you need to be able to do more than paying the officers or the calos to create your driving license.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

It sucks. It does.

I'm the odd new guy. Story of my life. Can I have another set of personalities? You know, just as spare and variation. I'm bored with this one already.

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Update

I decided I'd better move the whines and rant. Not really encouraging, that's why. So I made it un-public. Thank you for those who gave me support in response for the post. Time to move on, I guess.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Pirate Solution

I always love The Big Bang Theory, but now more than ever, the newest episode just really got to me. Boy, it's hilarious!

Raj: By the way, when I say squat,I mean diddly-squat. I wish I had squat.
Sheldon: So, wait, what have you been doing for the past six months?
Raj: You know, checking e-mail, Updating my facebook status, Messing up wikipedia entries.
Raj: Hey, did you know netflix lets you stream movies on your computer now?
Sheldon: And you've continued to take the university's money under false pretenses?
Sheldon: Highly unethical for an astrophysicist. Although pctically mandatory for a pirate.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

First impressions

Today is the beginning of a long weekend in Japan, and there has been so many things done and waiting to be done, impressions, hopes. Let's get on it reverse chronologically.

Day 3 i.e. today
not much being done yet, but this is the first day I can wake up at 10.50! and to think that last night I went to sleep at about 11pm here, so I got almost a 12-hour sleep. I like to think that I need this much sleep as previously my sleeps were scattered in couples of hours but I hope I won't need this much sleep in the future. Else I'm doomed.
Day 2.
the last thing that I did yesterday was knocking on other people's door and being knocked. Some guy ringing my bell looking for a bald, Chinese guy. Obviously wrong room number. But before that, I had a chat with other Indonesian student who also lives in the same international house, in the same floor. Unaware that I had been spent 2 hours inside my own room, I stepped out to his room with only a polo shirt on. Obviously not long after we're pretty much shivering from the cold. From our conversation, it can be concluded that there is one Japanese dish that is pretty much safe (that means halal) though I can't catch the name. Honestly, I'll put my concern more on other issues, as..
I already found out that the tap water is safe to drink. Thank god I didn't bought the bottled water. It was only on my way home from the supermarket that I realized that the lack of bottled water display are probably because of that. Nevertheless, I did some shopping for sustenance, bought several foods and more. However, what really baffled me is the sections that displays various items that I believe has something to do for cleaning. Problem is, I can't figure out what is for cleaning what. I set out to the supermarket with the idea that I needed soap, detergent and dish cleaning liquids. I didn't find the detergent, or at least, I can't read which one is the one saying it's detergent. None of the items displayed are in the form of powder just like Rinso or Attack we had back home. To say that I am baffled would be an understatement here.
On that day, I visited 3 different supermarket/convenience stores, mostly for food. I still thought that supermarket here should be more like in Indonesia, where there's also a section displaying pans and everything/ how am I supposed to cook instant noodles if I don't have any pans? I think I'll find some tomorrow.
I had the time to visit the supermarket because there was an item on the planning list that I haven't got to do: meeting with my professor. You see, from the morning I was already visiting offices: dorm offices, quick tour to what the dorm has, then to Uji city hall, registering for alien card and national health insurance, then to the main campus, registering to foreign student division and making an account in the post office. Boy, it's a lot of walk! I thought this would be a breeze, as I can tire my sister quite easily when we're walking a distance, but this time: dorm-eki, eki-city hall-eki, eki-campus-getting around campus-eki. I'll find out how many kilometers I have walked yesterday.
My biggest surprise happens in the campus: it turns out that I will have a desk! My first thought on that was “I am royally screwed! I am screwed in five different ways from Monday.” I mean, I don't even have any idea what I'm doing here. I thought that I would be able to buy time for 6 month, until the admission test, but no. Urgh. On top of all that, it will require me to actually make a social connection. Unlike Uphie, whose pride was wounded when I called him party pooper and thus able to make a conscious effort to change himself, it was different with me. Of course, I might found myself comfortable around them in the future, but well.
Day 1
on my first night, however, I thought that everything I have was impressive. My flight arrived 6pm, and after I cleared immigration, I was picked up by Mbak Kiki herself. The shared shuttle taxi has to be canceled as the delay was too long, so she decided to pick me up in Kansai Airport. From there we took trains to Uji, and I remembered that I felt I might be interested in pursuing doctorate here, when mbak kiki said that the scholarship can be automatically given if the scholarship recipient is capable. I'll have to cope with the workload first sih to make it that far.
My flight itself was uneventful, though when I watched The Hangover and The Taking of Pelham 123, I regretted why I didn't just watched The Hangover while I was in Jakarta and chose The Grudge 3 instead. It was hilarious! Nonetheless, it's was a good way to spend my time in the air.
Oh, I guess it's pretty clear by now that I should've done my registrations in Day 1, but because my flight was delayed for 9hours, I didn't get to do that. Instead, I got myself an interesting Day 0.
Day 0
It was the day I went from Bandung, went nearing 1pm, and it took us almost 5 hours to get to Cengkareng. My first pick was of course to just go by travel shuttle, but a relative of mine obviously has its own plan. Which involves getting lost for a while.
So I arrived at the airport all grimy and everything, but then when I checked myself in at SQ counter, the guy told me that my flight out of Singapore will be delayed. As it turns out, it was delayed, but then every passengers were given lodging in Grand Mercure Roxy. I couldn't be much happier! Great lodging, great breakfast in the morning after, and I was leaving to Changi in a much much better mood!

So that's how events pretty much transpired here. As of now, I am hoping I will be able to cope with the workload and actually able to communicate with others here. Wish me luck!
And if you're interested, pics of my room and surrounding, as well as the pics of the room at grand mercure are at http://my.opera,com/cormocodran/albums. Until then.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Assorted Finds #1

One thing that I liked about ateneo australs was the fact that they played funny videos related to the debating topics before each heading was announced. It was the first for me to see that the fun in debating tournament can actually be shared by many. Apparently, I am not the only one impressed, as Uphie tried to replicate this in NEO (fail, multimedia not ready), and apparently in the last JOVED as well (wasn't there, can't comment much on it). 

This trend was followed in this year's australs but IMO, the videos aren't as funny as last years'. Perhaps if I can spend some more time I'll list down (and actually embed) the videos from last year here. But in the meantime, I had too many idle times in my hand and actually come across several videos that made its impression on me. So here's two videos that I could've used for two headings:

Technology

Or, alternatively, you can just play Nellie McKay - Clonie for all to see (or listen).

----

Update:

I initally put down a video of college humor targeting Don't Ask Don't Tell policy for Sexuality-slash-Bigotry, but after yesterday's Grey's Anatomy, there was one awesome scene where Calliope Torres (Sara Ramirez) and his father throwing bible verses one to another. I mean, that was awesome! Uhm, and touching. You know, that's how I always imagined MTQ debate should be. I tried to find the video at YouTube, but can't find it. Perhaps later.


Friday, August 28, 2009

Merah Putih, Merantau, Cin(T)a

August is nearing its end, and as befits the nationalism-laden month I watched three indonesian movies this month alone: Merah Putih, Merantau, and Cin(t)a. On theatres. Actually spending money. 

Anyway, all in all, I think this is great. When I think about it, there's only a handful of Indonesian movies I watched in cinemas, most remarkable perhaps Gie, with Denias on close second. Jomblo was more weird than comedic--the book was better, and as for 3 Doa 3 Cinta, you can see here. I refused Laskar Pelangi (the book turned me off), and a quick glance of Oh Baby when it is aired on local TV confirms my suspicion: most of Indonesian movies are crap masquerading as arts. 

But back on the three movies for this month, I can't quite decide which is better, Merah Putih or Cin(t)a. Both are not your usual movies seen in theatres. Merah Putih, set in early 50s (?or was it late 40s?) can be easily affiliated to Indonesia-vs-Dutch struggle. The actions scenes are decent, and the explosions was way above normal bar for local movies. Oh, and the bloods are also realistic--to some extent. Minor inconsistencies aside, it has a surprise for you: a plot! (gasp! oh? it's a trilogy? GASP!) 

The conflicts revolves around Javanese smugness to people from other areas in Indonesia, boot camp, and so forth. Again, not your usual menu, yet it failed to keep me on the edge of my seat. I think what the movies lacking is a sense of purpose to engage the audience. Major portion of the movies revolves around the military training, but it didn't felt like there is any imminent threat. Pretty flat, that way. But at some point, BOOM! The movie suddenly shifts into war-mode. In retrospect, the first minutes or so did show a scene where Dutch troops killing locals, but it was soon forgotten. So here's its flaw for you: opening, build-up, and audience. Oh, and I failed to find it's comedic aspect that amusing.

On the other hand, there's cin(t)a. I think that a major reason why I am impressed with this movie is my initial low expectation. I first heard of this movie from Uphie, and did not even aware that this is even a movie. I looked it up at blitzmegaplex.com, and found that the description of the movie there is just gibberish. I barely understand anything written there, and give it a premature verdict of extreme-corniness. Yet then I was clueless on how to kill time, and when some of my friends suggested to watch cin(t)a, who am I to say no? They said some parts were shot in ITB, which also made me rather curious. (You get gerbang depan, stairs to Taman Hewan, and Arsitektur, as well as Perpus Pusat, I think).

So why am I impressed? For one, a lot of the shots are (to me) artistic. I also don't find the movie patronizing, the OST is impressive, and it's unexpectedly profound. I was expecting soppiness and it was there, alright. But not so much that it felt distracting (unlike the sinetron-esque scene involving Lurah in Merah Putih). It's the lead actress' husky voice that's distracting. That, and the subtitles. 

It tackles on inter-religion relationship issue, the inevitable quest and comparison between religion, and this was exactly an additional point as I find the stance both daring and realistic. Inter-racial relationship, not so much (as it's less of a problem in our society anyway, contrary to what the title may suggest). 

As it were, inter-religion relationship is there in our society, but no one really speak of it. I know couples who were in such situation and even in my family as well. But the operative word here is 'frowned'. Still, the subtle and not-so-subtle points are delivered well. 

Now what about Merantau? I was lured by its action, and it did not disappoint when the action was on. Problem was, I spent most of the opening half waiting, thinking, "Actionnya manaaa?" When it's on, I was more 'finally', and even then at one point, the fight got meanwhiled. To be honest, it was not the most gripping fighting scenes (I think one of the best was in Bourne Supremacy, Jason Bourne fighting with pen), but as Astari pointed out, it takes years before Hong Kong movies got to where they are right now, so it's a heartening start. Another minus point, the plot is even more illogical at times (what with the bravado and all), lebai at most (the girl ndeprok inside a cargo container, whispering soft "tolong..."), and its duration is too long (150-ish minutes, compared to 70-ish minutes of cin(t)a). On the other hand, to me Christine Hakim do looked very motherly there. 

If I am to give a rating, cin(t)a would be 7/10 because it's more profound, and I can't give it lower than 3 Doa 3 Cinta, with Merah Putih (6/10) and Merantau (5/10). So cin(t)a wins after all. I think the key here is my expectation, I had high expectation of Merah Putih and Merantau, but ridiculously low for Cin(t)a. 

I think I should do another post on God (not necessarily in correlation with cin(t)a), or on our theatre audience (see Mearh Putih weakness above), but it'll have to wait. Next up should be some travel reports from Lombok trip. Can't say much about Singapore and Thailand.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

And call it enough!



You want blood?
Come here and take it!
It's fresh!
Still warm from the life that just left it.
The blood of my brother.
So take it!
Take his blood,
and call it enough.
If you need more, take mine.
Do it!

I surrender. Shoot me.
And call that enough.
Or can one of you come down here...
and show me your face?
Show me that you're more than tank, metal, and shell.
That you're human like we are.
That you breathe, that you bleed.
That you feel and feel pity.
That you live for more than our deaths.

Come.
Any of you who have lost a brother.
Come and tell me it's enough.
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Quote from serial Kings S01E01.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Vietnam, not now.

Around 2008 New Year, I went to Thailand—yet another debating competition. But it was, in a sense, my first international competition (let’s not talk NTU, and AUDC was in ITB). Anyway, what I regretted the most is my lack of planning. We went a day before the competition started, and left Thailand as soon as the competition was over. Only during the competition—and month afterwards I realized that this was a grave error, I could’ve extend my stay and explore Thailand, or like Tika and Sony, went to Vietnam. What I had in mind was only final test for Wave and Statistical Physics. Argh.

So another opportunity arose. As a reward of a pageant, ITB DIKTI actually has money for us to go visit Singapore and Thailand, visiting universities with higher rank than ITB. I was hopeful I will be able to spend a couple of days afterward for unplanned itinerary, perhaps even going to Babel or Vietnam!

But no such luck. Apparently ITB wanted us to be back in Bandung by August 11, for some hubbub on new students. Practically impossible to extend my stay there.

On the other hand, the writing I quoted here from Tika's note in Facebook made me hate the situation even more. Sigh. Perhaps some other day, in not-so-distant future *hoping

A Bay Trip (By Tika Anindya)

I've been writing about the Asian trip for a long time, but I never got around finishing it. Thought this may be an interesting review for some.

So now that we’ve swarmed around the Hanoi area, we started preparing for Ha Long Bay. We booked a trip for two to the receptionist in our hotel, who claimed she handles these sorts of bookings all the time, and the next day, we were conveniently picked up at 6 AM. Half the people in the car were Caucasians and the other half were Asians, and it was pretty obvious that all the Asians know each other. The Guide, a young Vietnamese girl, explained what the program looks like. We’ll mostly stay in the ship and sail around for two days. There will be cave explorations and kayaking, both of which I couldn’t imagine doing in this cold weather. I voiced this concern to Sony and he brushed it off, saying it’s too much fun to pass, and I didn’t think it was worth mentioning that I’m worried about sea sickness too. So after a couple of hours, we arrived at the pier, where about 20 large ships huddled tightly. All the ships were made to look old-fashioned, with wooden finish and, in some cases, dragon heads on the side. We climbed into our ship, which was much harder than it sounds, and made our way to the top, which was much more exciting than it sounds. All the ships have an open area at the top where they put some beach chairs for people to enjoy the view. It was a great convenience to enjoy that sort of 360-degree view, and I imagined it would be better if it wasn’t so darn cold.


Our ship looked almost like this, except without those awesome wing-like apparatus.

Anyway, as the ship sailed, our first agenda was lunch. The main part of the ship was set to be a dining room, with a large TV on the side. The bedrooms were downstairs, but we can only check in after lunch. The meal was the pleasant Vietnamese kind – meaning they don’t tell you how much more is coming, so you end up stuffing your face on one course only to find the next one brought out. The Asians, which we’ve now concluded is a large family, occupied a whole table and spent lunch talking in a language we don’t understand. Sony and I sat on the other table with the Caucasians, who did not talk very much. I had to ask the guide if anything was made of pork – after Sony incorrectly identified some pieces of fried meat as beef – but overall, the meal was very good.

Keys were then distributed. Given the number of people, Sony and I have assumed that we will have to stay in one room, which at that point didn’t really matter. The thing is, as we found out later, there was only one bed per room. It was large and obviously fits two very well, but still, it was one bed. We were also excited to see a bathroom in our room – an exclusive bathroom is a luxury we have not enjoyed ever since we left Assumption Uni – but baffled to find how transparent the bathroom door was. Clearly this is a room for newlyweds. You can see so much that one of us had to leave the room when the other was taking a shower. But since everyone else were either families, same-sex friends or couples, we know there’s not much point making a fuss about this, so we didn’t. The bed was fluffy white and the bathroom was clean. We’ve been through worse.

We sailed for about an hour and we observed the absolutely gorgeous scenery : blue-green water speckled with mounting rocks, mostly as high as a three-storey building. We saw some ladies rowing a couple of small boats around us, each of packed with snacks & drinks. It was literally a floating convenience store. One of the Caucasians jokingly shouted out for a Tiger beer. I contemplated buying a can of Pringles from them, just for the hell of it, and Sony noted how these people have probably carried around the same stock for months. I suppose he’s right.

They got a lot of these in Halong Bay. Sony wondered if the products are expired.

Then we arrive at the cave, which was interesting. It’s definitely one of the biggest cave I’ve ever been in, and the Guide Lady was trying to be funny by pointing out animal shapes in the rocks. There was a piece shaped like a big thumb “although the imaginative guys think it’s something else” and I remembered this part because this was where Sony received a call on his mobile. I thought it was very odd that he managed to get reception off the beaches of a foreign country – and in a cave – but he did.

At dinnertime back in the ship, the Guide announced that we were going to have a karaoke party. In fact they were going to bring our ship right next to another one and fasten it so we can move safely from one ship to another, generating more crowds for the party. We weren’t thrilled by the program, but really, neither of us wanted to suggest sleeping, given the shared bed, so we distracted ourselves by sending text messages to people back home. We sent good lucks to Dyota, who was preparing for his FES finals the next day. We vented to Onta, who thought being stranded in the middle of the ocean with 10 degrees’ weather and no sweater is “so cool, I’m jealous” and we thanked Ruli, who recommended Ha Long Bay to us in the first place. Then we slept.

The next day's main attraction was kayaking! At breakfast the guide told us a lot of people are backing out because of the weather. We, on the other hand, were getting really excited, having concluded that it must be several degrees warmer than Hanoi, a fact worth celebrating. We stopped by a small pier, with a small cafe and a place for fishermen to keep their day’s catch. They gave us lifejackets, a pair of rows and pointed to where the kayaks are floating freely, and wished us luck.
Now, I’ve never tried kayaking before, and I expected it to be very unstable (hence the lifejacket). It’s actually very stable, even with me and Sony practicing our asynchronous rowing. Over the journey I couldn’t get over the gorgeous water – almost static-calm and the light green is nearly opaque, it felt like you’re looking at a vast tub of jelly – and now as it’s all around me, the fascination is heightened. I had to resist the urge to dip in. Not only were we now very close to the water, we were very close to the mountains of rocks. Like I said, they were very tall but very narrow, and we were able to circle around a few. Some of these “rocks” are large enough to be called a small island, with flat surface to stand on and such. The rocks are so tall, they’re like isolated pieces of a small hill, scattered in the water.

There was one particular rock with an enticing hole on its bottom, which we hovered around, hoping to see an awesome hidden cave or something. We explored the hollowed area and found out we couldn’t fit the way in, then we tried exiting and found out we couldn’t fit the way out. We spent a couple of seconds laughing, then panicking, then pushing our rows against the surface to propel us away from the rock. Obviously we were eventually released, although I later pondered what would have happened if we remained stuck. I suppose trying to stick yourself into a rock in the middle of the sea, with nobody near enough to hear you scream, is not something particularly intelligent. It's just that the whole view made you feel like you had to touch the rocks, just to see what it’s like, as if you’ve never seen a mold-covered rock before. Needless to say, I found the whole experience amazing.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Coin A Chance

I was wondering if there's a drop zone for coin a chance in Bandung. Apparently, no luck.

Perhaps later, someday, if there is a coin collection day in Bandung. If I'm still in Bandung, that is.

It rains on the just and unjust alike -- Rorschach

So two days ago was my first day back in Bandung!

Not that there's anything particularly interesting, mind you. But I ended up watching superheroes movies in the night. Masked avenger, if you will.

Although Garfield Pet Force may not be my usual diet of masked avenger, it was first, then Justice League - The New Frontier and Watchmen. I have watched the latter two previously, but both is just quotable. I wouldn't even mind watching Watchmen again if it actually screened at the theaters in Bandung.

A few days ago, I wrote in one online forum in itb that there's something that I don't like from Watchmen's ending. Too hasty, and not as profound as the rest of the movie, or at least so I thought, relying on the first impression from the first time I watched the movie in Jogja. What I forgot was that it was completely biased: I was hungry, no dinner before and shivering under the blasting air conditioner. I am how happily say that I stand corrected. It was as good as it gets.

Mundane, I know, but then again, what is this blog but to sate my self indulgence? Eheh.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

When the future is set

I am now certain.
That I will waste some 300K away.

I initially thought that I'd rather err on the side of caution; that even when I don't know if I wanted to go to japan, I'd rather not be a helpless tourist there. Hence the language course.

Only after I paid the down payment, 300K, I notice that i will most likely waste the money away. the course is in 3 hours a week, for 12 weeks. and I'll be gone by half of the course.

But I have had history of burning money on courses I don't attend anyway, so it won't be something new. Sadly.

Friday, May 29, 2009

The Perfect Day

Last week, Friday the 22nd, is one of the best day I ever had.

1. my train arrived on time in Klaten. and I just realized that one of the best moment everytime I am going home is the journey from train station to home. Paddy fields, dawn just breaking, clouds in the sky, fresh air from last night rain, unmistakable aroma of grass, morning chill with a warm sweater. Seriously, what else can you wish for a new day?

2. Ga jadi berurusan sama calo.
My passport is about to expire, and reading isman's guide for making passport, I wish my experience won't be that bad. 5 years ago, I had to resort to calo so that the passport will be ready in a day. but when I confirmed my query to the officer at immigration office Surakarta, he said I can make a new one in Bandung. So, the matter now not really pressing, I can relax.

3. Arrived home back at 1 pm, I miraculously escape a tedious meeting that is supposed to be laded with pleasantries. Man, I guess my uncle should stop impose his love relationship ideals to his nephews and nieces. But the meeting did not take place. so HUAHAHAHAHAHA there.

4. Took nap until 3, then getting ready to go to jogja. first stop: stasiun Klaten. found out there that Lodaya ticket for sunday night is sold out. no biggie, I can make a query at stasiun tugu. and it was not rain on the way, just a drop here and there, and I was dry again in 2 minutes.

5. Took a queue number: 796. number just called: 756. But when I was filling the form, somebody gave me his queue number, don't know why. his was 766. Marvellous, I'm on a roll here!

5. Lodaya is sold out, but there's mutiara selatan, departing only 10 minutes after lodaya. I'll take that.
But upon further inspection, the clerk gave me a seat numbered with 3A. no-no-no-no-no-no! but when I asked her if I can change seat, she did it and change my seat to 8B. Rarely i am so happy purchasing a ticket.

6. upon my exit from the ticket reservation center, I decided to walk to malioboro, it's close anyway. when I reached malioboro mall I decided I should get some water, so I went to Hero. And there I was offered a free beng-beng! Aduh mbak-mbaknya baik. But I guess she's being paid for it. but still, a free item that I actually enjoy.

7. And there's periplus just outside Hero. Have been awhile. did not actually have any plan to buy any books, but I found some are put on special price. ended up spending 65K for two books (Stephen White - Kill Me, and Diane - A Breath of Snow and Ashes). Thick books! somebody please slap me if you happen to accompany me at a bookstore. I still have daendels-pram, sang aktris, and sum of all fears laying around forgotten in my room, and I buy two more books? I just can't resist.

8. I almost got lost in jogja, my disorientation not helping to find my way to XXI from malioboro, but I made it in time! and finally, Watchmen. shame on you, theatres in bandung! 160 minutes later, we got out of the theatres hungry (all 4 of us) and happily happy from watching the movie (I guess it's just me of all 4). It definitely meets my expectation of the complex plot and the depth reviewed in many blog I read. and the BLOOD! the special effect! I got hooked the minute the opening credit started.

9. we ate at this seafood place that seems to be located close to sanatadharma. I might be wrong, but the cumi hot plate is good. yummy! mouth-watering yummy. delicious! Scrumptious! Mmmmm.

10. and best of all, I got home just a few minutes after 10 pm, and still dry! all is well for a day. And I have written all that, should be something to remember when I feels down.

Eh, kelupaan satu: pas keluar dari bioskop, dibilang ganteng! AHAHAHAHA. sama danti sih, tapinya trus cindy juga bilang "agak bersihan kamu mas," The number speaks. how can it not be objective. and there's no single reference to my sandal swallow. this was as good as it gets.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Books, Fair Books

I shared pretty much the same sentiment with Ella on Kompas Gramedia Fair, which was concluded last Sunday. Unlike Ella though, my excitement was created by two stand south of BIP and the pile of financial liberation and entrepreneurship: penerbit buku Kompas.

Though i only visited the fair at friday, it was IDR33K well spent: I bought four books. three of them are short stories antology (Iblis Ngambek, Kembali Ke Pangkal Jalan, and Sang Aktris), and one Pramoedya's book on Daendels. I meant to buy benny&mice's 100 tokoh and/or Pramoedya's Gadis Pantai, but as I don't bring enough money, the cheaper one will have to do.

The best thing was that the short stories antologies was extremely cheap. Tagged at IDR 5000, the price is still subject to 20% discount. I wouldn't dare to imagine the feeling of the writers, though. Hard work, sweat and blood, all equal to mere 50 sheets of empty papers. But I enjoy reading those (although I have yet to start reading Sang Aktris).

I also see N Riantiarno's book tagged at IDR8000, while only two weeks before that I bought the same book for IDR 18000 at Gramedia Ambarrukmo Plaza. Oh well. It was discounted 50 % already.

On a completely unrelated note, I thought I saw Liza tending the stand with the snake-and-ladder for kids when I visited the fair. but with my myopic sight, I didn't know for sure (was it really you?). And I feel a pang of guilt, as I have ignored SMSes from Persma for quite awhile now. But I sincerely wish them well.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Everything we are, is everything we fear

"Everything we are, is everything we fear"
--Earlimart, The Little Things

The title above is a quote from The Little Things' lyrics. I guess it's also the little things that made me put their song on heavy rotation in my phone.

The first time I listen to Earlimart was when I listen to Nevermind The Phone Calls, on Kyle XY The Soundtrack. Then I downloaded the Hymn and Her album. Then some tracks from Mentor Tormentor. Then the whole album. Then weeds out google search result for other tracks.

From the reviews of H&H, it was mentioned that they plan to release an album every year, unless they don't want to. I certainly wished for a new album coming soon, but there hasn't been any announcement, not even on their website.

Now if only their previous (and future) materials are accessible from here..

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

HBSITB

I basically talked BS on the ITB honor student selection. Talking about hoax. God knows why I don't just review Knowing as my submission.

Not really sure if I will be able to break my Final jinx, though.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Not exactly my finest hour,

but in two days I got to add two more lines in my CV: one first best speaker in ALSA UI EComp, and one Honor Student for FMIPA ITB. Impressive, huh? I just wished I can say the same with my final project.

It come a bit late, for now I am already weary, this earthly things is of little matter. But let's not be ungrateful. More task, more arduous road ahead!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Books and Books


I do not have a book shelf. This is why since the last time I cleaned up my room, I just put my books in piles, here and there. There are two different set of piles, though: books I generally enjoy to see laying in my room, and those that I don’t. On the left is the towering pile of the first category, and basically the attention grabber on my desk.

It turns out that putting your book in a pile has its own disadvantages: just two days ago, the whole pile crumbled down. No casualties, though. And afterwards, I put it back again in a towering pile, now seen on the left pic. Only this time I made sure that heaviest books is in the bottom of the tier: hence the Almanac etc.

But every book--or item--has a story. Bottom up: The Time Almanac, plaque from adjudicating ITB expo, Pandu's DVD: Cosmos by Carl Sagan, Arthur Phillips-Egyptologist, The Dilbert Principle, Tom Clancy-Sum of all Fears, Michael Frayn-Spies, Shakespeare-Much Ado About Nothing, Lindqvist-Let the Right One In, Richard Morgan-Altered Carbon, Pramoedya-Rumah Kaca, Budiman Hakim-Ngobrolin Iklan Yuk, Stephen Fry-Revenge, Kumpulan Cerpen Kompas 2007, Arswendo-Dewi Kawi, YB Mangunwijaya-Pohon Sesawi, Norman's Stiglitz-Globalization and Its Discontent, ARRR Robert-The Va Dinci Cod,Trust By Danone Notebook, Dino Patti Djalal-Harus Bisa, Michael Crichton-State of Fear, Swofford-Jarhead. The movie ticket was tickets for Valkyrie, when SEF ITB contingent watch it during NEO.

The almanac was bought in reading light, heavily discounted: only IDR 50.000, as I bought it in 2007, while it was actually a 2005 almanac. But it has proven time and again useful, particularly in Worlds (see the token on the right side?) and NEO.

Egyptologist, Jarhead, Let the Right One in, were bought in Reading Light, though I feel the most impressive ones is Egyptologist: It's tedious, but when you persevere, you will be rewarded at the end of the plot. Kinda like Musashi, but with less pages. I finished it just days before Ateneo Australs, and during my stay in Manila, I indulge myself in book shopping spree: Frayn, Fry, Morgan, and 4 more.

Personally, I like Revenge the most out of all books that I bought. The story was so powerful that it left me pondering for days after. I also find myself replaying scenes after scenes from the book in my head in the next couples of days. Which is surprising, because I have read the Count of Monte Cristo before, and Revenge is basically an adaptation of it. I most definitely recommend it, that's five stars out of five possible for you.

Of all the books, I haven't finished the Clancy book and Lidqvist one. But if any of you want to borrow any of the book, be my guest. On second thought, not the Stiglitz one, that one is not mine and I should've returned it a long time ago. Sorry, Norm. Hopefully more book review coming along soon.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Weekends away from Bandung

Apology for the lack of update [1]. But only now I have proof that there's only so many travelling human body--my body--can take. During the last month or so, I have spent a significant time on the road, with only last weekend I actually spend my weekends in Bandung.

The weekend before that, I was a substitute debater, joining a team with Dito, but not this Dito[2], to go to Binus for National-wide English Olympics (NEO). The fact that Binus has more than one campus successfully confused us in the first day. But the long daily commute for 4 days was definitely paid off: 2nd runner up, all only with minimum practice (twice). I get to be in a grand final again, although the other team from ITB proved their superiority [3]. At least I am enjoying my own speech in the final. Too bad there wasn’t any grand final best speaker award to feed my ego. I think I should write more about this in an official avenue.

The week before NEO, i barely spend some time in Bandung, as by Wednesday I already packed my bag to Jakarta, and in Friday I flew to Jogja for Trust by Danone Country final. This was a bit surprising; as I actually enjoy working together with my teammates without having to exert any authority at all. We ended up being the 1st runner up, and went home with mixed feelings, as if only we got through during the judges deliberation, the prize of being country champion is to go to international final at Paris. But considering even without Paris my thesis is abandoned, I don't think that Paris is such a good idea after all.

What's fun after Trust (aside from the complimentary massage in Melia Purosani) is that I get to go home before I go to Bandung, not really expecting anything and get a little get together with Danti-Cindy-Arry in--where else?--Amplaz Jogja. Got a bright orange polo shirt, too. Heheh. And burnt my tongue trying to swallow a takoyaki wholly.

The week before Trust country final, I was away from Bandung since Wednesday also, to adjudicate at 2nd Festival Ekonomi Syariah at JCC. Who knew that Jakarta can be so cold? The blasting air conditioner in the halls, lounges, chambers, and corridors were simply devilish. ITB team only got 3rd runner up, which was rather disappointing. But on Saturday evening after the event were concluded I was able to run--not literally--to Hotel Borobudur. I did miss the session with Dian Sastro for Workshop II Youth Leadership Indonesia [4]. But from the biased review of some that I heard, all of them--girls, perhaps out of feeling of inadequacy, heheh--feels that the session with the guy from BRR--what's his name--was far more inspiring. I can't agree more (that the session with the guy from BRR is truly inspiring, not necessarily the Dian Sastro part, mind you).

The weekend before FES-McKinsey's workshop, I also spent my weekend in Jakarta, for Trust Day. A week after Trust Day, every time somebody asked/reminded/cheered me for the result, I always get a painful and throbbing headache. So I guess that was the price of a novel experience, participating in a business game. But as you've read two paragraphs above, my team was in the top 6 and we get to the country final.

The weekend before trust day, I spent my time exhausted at Klaten after a week long IVED. I actually had been in Klaten and been going back and forth Klaten-UMY since January 17th, so that gives you another 2 weekends away from Bandung. Actually, make it 3 weekends, as the week before I believe I had meetings in Citos with other members of IVED A-core. IVED itself was bittersweet, as Tirza puts it appropriately. It was off with an ill start--my ranting on the issues, is of course mostly happened in private with SEF ITB gossipmongers--went better a couple of days after: ITB team broke quite high, and ITB was granted the right to host next year's IVED--and reach the anticlimax; ITB was defeated at octo, Semifinal was awful, and Grand final was dim and sloppy--in more than one sense. But it was my first time going inside Vredeburg, so it was still something.

So there you have it, 7 back to back to back to back weekends away from Bandung. The result was that during my time at NEO, I feel constant nausea, and had to run to the bathroom for feeling really sick in more than one occasion. So I guess the moral of the story is aside that most of the travels are fun, hanging out with different crowds week after week, I don’t really know what the moral is.

Oh wait: there is one; I think I need to break my grand final jinx: four grand finals and no win? Something is just not right. And I should be writing my thesis now.

--
[1] Now that I have four readers[*] I surely am able to justify my illusion of having audience for this mundane blog. Ha!
[2] They has a same template, though. Same high school alma mater, even. And a number of facial similarities. Unlike yours truly.
[3] I'll admit, mixed feeling here. Not to mention feeling really-really old.
[4] Yes, I know, judging from the name it's not exactly the event you thought I'd attend, no? But how can I resist free buffet meals? And the breakfast was simply put, satisfactory. Mmmm, blueberry yogurts..
[*] Please do not mind the gender confusion.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

3 Doa 3 Cinta


Ujian TRK? Gagal total. Jadilah habis itu saya maraton nonton 3 Doa 3 Cinta dan Bedtime Stories di Ciwalk 21 dan XXI. Saya review 3 Doa 3 Cinta aja deh, yang pertamanya tertarik karena rekomendasi Farah. Film ini paling lama juga seminggu lagi hilang dari bioskop, wong kemarin saya nonton jam 5 aja satu studio cuma ada sekitar 15 orang..

3 Doa 3 Cinta (3/5)
Salah satu film Indonesia yang layak tonton. Meski tidak benar-benar memukau, paling tidak setelah menontonnya anda tidak ingin membunuh Titie Said yang meloloskan film-film kacrut indonesia seperti Oh Baby. Sayangnya, meski dengan suasana segar, karena nampaknya belum ada film Indonesia lainnya yang berlatarkan pesantren sejauh yang saya tahu, kekurangan film ini lumayan banyak juga.
Utamanya adalah alurnya terlalu dangkal, mungkin karena terlalu banyak yang ingin disampaikan: mulai dari persahabatan, suasana pesantren yang ketat, Huda yang nyari ibunya (dan ternyata ibunya adalah penjaja seks), Rian yang ibunya mau kawin lagi, Sahid yang bapaknya sakit-sakitan dan sempat terpengaruh aliran garis keras yang merekrut orang-orang untuk aksi terorisme. Harusnya mungkin fokus salah satu saja sih, tapi ya bagaimana lagi. Bahkan dengan sedabreg hal yang mau disampaikan, 114 menit tetap terasa lama.

Yang paling kocak dari film ini jelas scene Huda merekam Dona buat video casting. Kapan lagi kita liat Dian Sastro pose cicak? Selain itu, ada juga Nicolas Saputra yang istigfar habis dicium. Sambil tutup mata pula istigfarnya.

Harusnya film ini saya rating 2.5/5, tapi karena ada Dona Satelit Mbak Dian joget kayang, boleh lah naik jadi 3/5.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

rambling#4: Skeptisisme, Sinisme dan Gigit-menggigit

Saya barusan berpikir, bagaimana kita bisa mencegah skeptisisme menjadi sinisme?

--
Kemarin, saya baru membaca satu tulisan bagus yang menghubungkan Scooby Doo, Skeptisisme, dan Vampir. Di salah satu bagiannya disebutkan tentang Fred dan Velma bagaimana rasa skeptis bisa membuka tabir apa yang sepintas lalu bisa langsung disebut ulah makhluk gaib.

Beberapa jam sebelumnya, saya meramban jejaring jagad maya, dan melihat-lihat situs milik BCG. Di situ, di salah satu halamannya menyebutkan rasa ingintahu, ambisi, dan kreativitas sebagai sesuatu yang penting dimiliki.

Dan entah bagaimana, waktu malamnya saya nongkrong sambil jongkok*, tiba-tiba kedua yang nampaknya tidak berhubungan itu jadi klik dan nyambung (sembari menimbulkan pertanyaan-pertanyaan baru*). Salah satunya, saya jadi merasa kalau rasa ingin tahu itu adalah suatu yang berhubungan erat sekali dengan skeptisisme yang sempat saya singgung di atas. Sempat terpikir, rasa ingin tahu yang menyebabkan sikap skeptis itu. Kira-kira seperti "Apa ada vampir yang menggigit untuk menjual jasa tindik (dan tattoo)?"**

Karena dari rasa ingin tahu, kita lalu mencari tahu lebih banyak informasi yang berkaitan dengan subyek itu. lebih banyak informasi berarti kita bisa memutuskan sendiri mana yang benar dan mana yang salah. Tentu saja prinsip cukuran Occam lalu menjadi sangat berguna. Idealnya, hal ini akan menghasilkan keputusan yang baik, berdasar pada fakta dan bermanfaat.

Tapi kembali ke pertanyaan pertama saya, yang membuat saya bingung adalah saya sendiri sering bersikap skeptis, dan sinis***, tapi sudah sangat lama saya tidak merasakan gemuruh rasa ingin tahu. Opsi kesimpulan yang bisa ditarik dari sini diantaranya adalah:
1. ada yang salah dengan klausa bahwa rasa ingin tahu adalah basis sikap skeptis.
2. saya salah, dan sudah gila karena ga ada kerjaan mikirin hal begituan sementara besok UAS relativitas khusus.
3. (1) & (2) benar.
4. pertanyaan tidak berhubungan dengan kesimpulan.

Kesimpulan yang manapun yang benar, saya rasa saya tidak tahu jawaban pertanyaan yang saya ajukan ke diri saya sendiri. Dan khusus untuk saya sendiri, pertanyaannya bisa ditambahi menjadi bagaimana membalikkan arus sinisme kembali ke arah skeptisme yang sehat, penuh rasa ingin tahu****.

For my own's sake.

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*tapi bukan pertanyaan yang berkaitan dengan apa yang barusan saya makan. atau bagaimana tekstur, volume dan warnanya.
**dengan tagline iklan: "Gigitan Terpercaya Sejak 1576" atau "Gratis Gigitan Pertama (Dan Tiap Kunjungan Kelima)," atau "Melayani Pola Etnik dan Tribal."
***menurut saya, skeptis: tidak percaya begitu saja dan menelan mentah mentah, tapi terbuka pada tawaran solusi, namun tidak percaya begitu saja menelan mentah-mentah solusi yang ditawarkan (yes, my explanation is circular).
sinis: skeptis negatif, tidak percaya bahwa semua solusi yang ada bisa bekerja
****Menerima segala macam sugesti yang bisa anda tawarkan.

+saya baru sadar bahwa dengan intonasi berbeda, kalimat tanya "Apa ada vampir yang menggigit untuk menjual jasa tindik (dan tattoo)?" ini bisa dipakai oleh dua orang yang berbeda sama sekali: anak-anak polos (untuk menunjukkan antusiasme, intonasi naik dari awal ke akhir)++ dan tukang tatoo yang barusan sadar kalo dia punya saingan (intonasi turun, dari awal ke akhir, atau ganti pakai tanda seru, bisa sambil mengayun-ngayunkan belati).
++saya terbayang Milhouse van Houten, atau cewe-cewe yang terkena wabah Edward Cullen-mania.