Monday, December 27, 2010

I don't get art

And if it makes me a simpleton, then I am one.

I do realize that "art" itself is a term too general, covering from pieces of music to ceramic vases to aurora borealis. Some of those, I do get. But when we're talking fine art, say painting, I can confidently say here that I don't get them. (I daresay if you ask me again in a posher event you'll find me nodding along the snobs).

I don't get, for example, why a bunch of sunflowers in a vase painted in a canvas can fetch millions. The one painted by van Gogh are not even painted in perspective.

I don't get, for an even bizarre example, what seemingly as odd collection of organs in clashing colors would beckon someone to open his wallet in an effort to exhibit it in his study.

I can go on and on and on.

When I compare that with other work of art, I rather thought it is because the minimal time of appreciation required for a painting is, well, minimal. Say a piece of "modern" music, which has been lamented as catering only to ADD generation, spanning not more than 5 minutes per track, they still require exactly that. Five minutes for a full listen.

In another hand, you can glance a painting for three seconds and be done with it already.

Compare that with a book. How many books are there that you can finish in a single sitting? And that's just for a one-time reading. Short stories are shorter and yet they still require more time to appreciate.

Then there's the ability to inspire. Some music would move your hands involuntarily for an airdrum. Some would reduce you to tears. Others, warm your cloudy days (or nudge you to suicide). Still others would enrage.

Not so with painting. Have you ever heard someone called to dance after watching a painting of people dancing? Have you ever feel that you would like to kiss your love after watching a painting? And surely we can make do already with all the idyllic painting of greens in the world?

The best that you can get maybe is a feeling of longing, if it depicts something of a distant and unreachable past. Maybe the paintings of greens will be even more valuable in 2050, when all Earth is barren post nuclear winter. If mankind still survives, that is.

Still, for all its limited ability, how can they command such price? I don't think I've ever heard a piece of music being auctioned and make headlines for the bagful of money it's being sold at.

Then there's also the matter of expression. If you read me lashing about paintings of lazy grasses, that's because I don't get it. What are they supposed to say? "Wouldn't it be good to frolick under the sun, enveloped by summer warmth?" That we can do in public park. Unnecessary at best, noisy at worst.

Perhaps paintings is the best embodiment of art for art's sake. Highly subjective, and its biggest value is in the making. Yes, I'll just go back to bed and a good happy new year to you.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Buah Terlarang

Dan Kami berfirman, “Hai Adam diamilah oleh kamu dan isterimu surga ini, dan makanlah makanan-makanannya yang banyak lagi baik dimana saja yang kamu sukai, dan janganlah kamu dekati pohon ini, yang menyebabkan kamu termasuk orang-orang yang dzalim. (QS 2:35)

Sayang Adam dan Hawa ngeyel (setelah dibujuk Syaithon). Maka hap-hap, mereka ambil buah itu, makan, ketahuan, Adam dapat jakun dan Hawa dapat payudara*.

Setahu saya, versi populernya--ehm, masyhur--di Barat, si buah itu adalah buah apel. Saya ga tau apa ada secara eksplisit disebutkan di Injil, tapi mungkin sih ngga. Karena waktu saya baca kumpulan tajuk rencana Kompas karangan Jakob Oetama, sempat disinggung mungkin sebenarnya buahnya itu adalah buah mangga.

Lebih masuk akal daripada apel sih, terutama karena apel perlu iklim dingin untuk tumbuh (I'm thinking Malang here)--sementara (CMIIW) konsep aurat baru ada setelah mereka makan si buah terlarang itu. Udara dingin+ga pakai baju=bukan surga ideal. Hmm, atau justru ideal ya?

Bandingkan dengan mangga! Buah tropis = iklim hangat, berarti lebih nyaman kalau konsep pakaian belum dibutuhkan. Skor satu poin untuk Jakob Oetama!

Nah, sekarang saya mau mengajukan satu hipotesa: si buah itu sebenarnya adalah buah durian!

Kenapa durian? Karena banyak yang suka. Oh, durian juga buah tropis lho, jadi mendukung hipotesa iklim surga. Tapi ada beberapa asumsi yang diperlukan agar hipotesa ini bernilai benar:
(1) Durian di surganya Adam dan Hawa tidak berkulit duri.
(2) a. Adam dan Hawa adalah penyuka aroma durian (Hawa berkata, "Iya, Dam, baunya itu lho, sedap dan membangkitkan liur! Mmmmm"); atau b. Durian surga baunya baru muncul setelah dikupas (Adam mengupas durian, mencium baunya, dan berseru, "Gusti! Bau apa ini?" Sambil mengunyah**, Hawa berkata, "I bet you're not manly enough to eat the fruit!").
(3) a. The Almighty ga suka bau durian; atau b. His sense of humor was great jadi dia menciptakan buah berbau--yah tau lah maksudnya (jadi Dia terpanggil oleh seruan Adam di 2b).

I'm personally leaning to 3.a.; sehingga setelah Adam dan Hawa buka buahnya, Dia mencium baunya, dan murka: "WHO DARETH TO SPOILTH MY PARADISE WITH SUCH UN-GO.... YOU HUMANS!"

Kami berfirman: "Turunlah kamu! sebagian kamu menjadi musuh bagi yang lain, dan bagi kamu ada tempat kediaman di bumi, dan kesenangan hidup sampai waktu yang ditentukan". (QS 2:36)

------
* Apakah ini berarti Hawa tidak berpayudara sebelumnya? Lalu--uh, postur tubuhnya kayak apa ya?
** Karena untuk bahan payudara Hawa perlu makan buahnya jauh lebih banyak daripada sejumput bahan jakun
------

EPILOG

Kemudian Adam menerima beberapa kalimat dari Rabb-nya, maka Allah menerima taubatnya. Sesungguhnya Allah Maha Penerima taubat lagi Maha Penyayang. (QS. 2:37)

Setelah turun ke Bumi dan menemukan Hawa kembali, Adam pun berdoa, "Ya Allah, sesungguhnya aku telah mengecap rasa buah-Mu, sudikah Engkau menurunkannya pula ke Bumi ini sebagai pengingat?*"

And true to His fashion of humor, He let grow durian abundantly. With spikes as bonus. Sebagai pengingat penderitaan Adam.

------
* Typical man, I tell you, try to outsmart his better. Padahal ngaku aja jadi pengen lagi karena baru makan secokot kan sama aja.

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Sun

I

I wonder if the Sun ever feels loneliness. Flattered, but lonely.
He has four gaseous things that adore him from afar. They shine, alright, but their beams are borrowed light. Miserable specks of stolen splendor.
From him.

II

I wonder if the Sun ever feels jealousy. Stuck in a solitary with no one to keep him company.
He has no companion star, and when he gaze for the brilliance that lies near, would envy be something he fear? 
For a mere parsec away, the Centauris couple seemed happy with each other. She shine her light on him, his on her, rotating in an eternal dance. 
Blessed with Proxima Centauri, he thought that they might as well have a white picket fence (with roses!) around their dwelling.

III

I wonder if the Sun ever feels regret. The scars, they were never intended to be there.
Yet for all he said and done, Mercury is burnt, and Venus is barren. 
So much for brilliance. And he is not even that stunning. He.. is stock. If one care to traverse the galaxy, his kind is really abundant. 
So he traverses. 

IV

I wonder if the Sun ever feel hopeless. Felt that all that is there in the store for him is wasting away.
Tugged by gravity, he travels the galaxy. He follows the faint traces of other stars before him, hoping for an interaction or two.
But lately it dawned on him: it's a moving target. No matter how long he walks on his path, dragging his victims and admirers along, it's one emptiness after another. He realizes that others have also been there in this journey, but they left him on his own.

V

I wonder if the Sun ever feel the universe is unfair. 
Afterall, what good is longevity when you are subjected to involuntary solitary?

VI

I wonder if the Sun ever wished for the future. For everything to be different than they are.

VII

From: "apollo@mw.sg3.net"
To: "yellowdoorknob"
Sent: Sun, December 5, 2010 1:46:01 AM
Subject: I-VI

You know, you really shouldn't worry. I know anthropomorphizing celestial bodies is fun and all, but ultimately it never changes anything. I'm perfectly content where I am. Maybe you should, too. 

PS: You might want to worry about Gaia a bit, though. I heard her wheeze the other day. You know how proud she is, she won't even ask for help, not even when she bleeds oil. 
PPS: Don't let her know I said that about her!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Sisi lain sistem ganda lubang hitam supermasif

... adalah buah dada.

Heran? Hayati. Resapi. Renungkan.

Okelah, karena saya sebagai satu dari sejumput orang yang beruntung mengenyam bangku pendidikan astronomi institut gajah duduk, mungkin saya punya kewajiban moral untuk menyebarkan dan meluruskan informasi tentang astronomi yang ada di publik.

Blog ini JELAS BUKAN bagian dari kewajiban moral itu.

Wong saya cuma mau cerita kalau siang tadi saya ada bimbingan dengan si bapak profesor dan si aa' (mas? oom? ah apalah) paskadoktoral. Di bimbingan sebelumnya, Senin dua minggu yang lalu saya diberi pekerjaan rumah, membaca jurnal ini.

Yang tentu saja baru mulai dibaca kira-kira 2 jam sebelum bimbingan, tadi pagi jam 8 (bimbingannya jam 10.30). Sebagai mahasiswa paskasarjana teladan, maka saya datang telat 5 menit ke sesi bimbingan.

Di situ saya menjelaskan kemajuan ngutak-atik program fortran saya sendiri hingga bisa membuat grafik semacam di bawah ini, yang dengan modifikasi sedikit bisa lah dipakai buat Uji Rorschach.



Karena ngomongin kemajuan itu tiga menit juga selesai yah, maka berikutnya saya ditagih PR, menjelaskan ulang sub bab #3 (Temporal Variation) dan #4 (Discussion)  jurnal yang tadi. Jelas tidak lengkap kalau ujug-ujug langsung bahas dua sub bab terakhir, jadi mau tak mau mulai lagi dari awal, dari pendahuluan.

Saya pun mulai menggambar skematik dua buah lubang hitam yang dikelilingi awan Broad Line Region, meniru gambar ini, yang diambil dari jurnal yang sama.



Kira-kira menjadi gambar ini, tapi di papan tulis:



Awalnya sih saya bener-bener ga ada asosiasi sama sekali, tapi karena saya menggambar sistem obyek ganda itu berulang-ulang di papan tulis, tiba-tiba di gambar ke-enam (jarak pisah sedang, massa kedua lubang hitam sama) tiba-tiba saya terhenyak sejenak: ngapain ya saya gambar boobs banyak-banyak gini di papan tulis?
---
Terkait astronomi sebelumnya: Tips membatalkan presentasi di Summer School, Apa yang sebenarnya saya lakukan di sini.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Recent Developments of Elephantiasis

Just the other day, Ria drove my kepo-level to the roof, finding the identity of a person only briefly referred to in a blogpost. Well, I am easy to provoke, really. Suffice it was to say that in two hours I can safely conclude the identity of the person-in-question (and hence proving my superiority over her as a kepo-master :P). By combination of well archived and tagged blog, Facebook friend list, info and photo album, and unawareness of privacy issue, if you must know.

It prompted me to take a gander of my own's blog archive, and sure enough, plenty of juvenile and ababil stuff there. During the past year, however, I have come to a better sense and decided to put my private rants somewhere more private (hello, circular explanation!)

I will keep this blog updated anyway, but it will mostly be for lighter stuff. Because the world can make do with a little more LOL, ROFL, and ROFLOLMAO. And if you ever found anyone who actually ROFLOLMAO-ing in real life, I implore you to record that. To prove mankind devolution in the making. That is all.

---
P.S. Yes, the title of this post was meant to be total gibberish. Let it go.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Tokyo, part 5: expenses

If a blog starts with a digression, is it still a digression?

Anyway, after I first came to Lombok I planned to wrote a post about how to get around, comparing information from the internet with the experience that I had, particulary on the price, accessibility of transport and what nots. Obviously now it all has got thrown out of the window and I'll be damned if I can remember how much money I spent on angkot, cikar, and ojek on my way to Kuta from Mataram.

But I just came back from 3-day trip to Tokyo, and considering the recent unveiling of Air Asia route to Haneda from Kuala Lumpur, if you're planning a trip, this post might worth your while, perhaps for planning expenses.

As I'm sure you've known already, I live in Kyoto. And the purpose of that trip to Tokyo was for a debating tournament known as JPDU Autumn--or something like that. I won't bore you with my debating woes, because that's not the intention of this post. But I digress anyway.

So I left for Tokyo from Kyoto station's bus terminal (hachijouguchi) in a bus heading for Shinjuku station. We planned to use JR bus (because we can get student discount from JR), but because it was a long weekend, the tickets were not enough for the four of us. So we used bus from another company (no, I don't remember its name, 6000 yen, 11pm departure, 6pm arrival at Shinjuku station). 

Because the itinerary for the first day and the first half of the second day was bound for the tournament, we were just going from Shinjuku station (arrival point)-International Christian University (debate venue for 1st day)-Soka station(nearest station to our hotel) for the first day. Itinerary for Monday morning was from Soka station-Tokyo University of Science. Afterwards, we split up, and I explore the area on my own, starting from TUS-Ueno station. Stopped for Tokyo National Museum and National Science Museum. Then go on different direction from Ueno station-Kamakura station-Hase Station, the nearest station to Kamakura-Hase Youth Hostel, where I spent the second night. 

The next morning, it's Hase station-Kamakura station. Stopped for the beach southward from the train station, gegoleran di pasir pantai, and for nglarung kacamata item. Yeah agak goblok emang. By mid-day, back to Kamakura station for Yokohama station. Then after securing my bag in a locker, to the Chinatown. Because I'm not really a shopping person (and there's not much grabbing my attention anyway, after seeing Yamashita park round, I returned to Yokohama, retrieve my bag, and head out to Kawasaki. Why I finally chose Kawasaki was pretty much a mystery, but from Kawasaki station I changed train and head for Kawasaki daishi, the nearest station to the shrine with iron penis. 

Have I bored you off? Bear with me, it was night already when I left Kawasaki for Shinjuku (again) to wait for the bus that then took me to Kyoto. 

Ga konkrit ya? Let me flesh out the expenditure posts for three days then (not 100% accurate, but you get the idea):

1. Lodging. 3400 yen for sharing a hotel room for two in Soka and 4300 yen for the hostel in Hase. 

Subtotal 7700 yen

2. Transport. Kyoto-Shinjuku: 6000 yen. Shinjuku-Mitaka (210) Mitaka-ICU pp (210x2) Mitaka-Soka (~810) Soka-TUS (~600) TUS-Ueno (730) Ueno-Kamakura (890) Kamakura-Hase (190) Hase-Kamakura (190) Kamakura-Yokohama (330) Yokohama-Motomachi pp (200x2) Yokohama-Kawasaki (210) Kawasaki-Kawasaki daishi pp (130x2) Kawasaki-Shinjuku (380) Shinjuku-Kyoto: 500 yen (promo ticket I bought from another debater). Needless to say Google Maps helped me a lot to locate the train stations and where to get off and the like. 

Subtotal 12120 yen for Kyoto-Tokyo-Soka-Tokyo-Chiba-Tokyo-Kamakura-Yokohama-Kawasaki-Tokyo-Kyoto

3. Food. I have to admit I have a weakness for sweet drinks, hence brief stops at vending machines and convenience stores (~1200). Meals (mostly bento) are around 400-500, but I did find a soba shop in Kamakura station, decent portion for only 380 yen. I reckon I spent (200+600+700+1000+800+380+380) for meals (excluding the one in the hostel). What's the 200 yen meal, you ask? It's that McD, of course.

Subtotal 5260 yen

4. Miscellaneous. Included here is the registration for the debate (2500), golden piggybank bought at Chinatown (500), coin locker (300x2), entrance to National Museum of Science (600), impulsive electronic purchase (4200) and electrical socket (400)

Subtotal 8800 yen

Total? 33880 yen.

Hmmm, gimana saldo tabungan mau tambah kalo begini caranya? Kalo ga dipake debat, dipake nonton summer sonic (27000), atau summer school (30000), atau buat balik (80000).

Unsurprisingly, the biggest expenditure is for transport, while the miscellaneous post swelled by almost 100% due to impulsive purchase of iPod charger, batteries, and iTunes card. But I was bored beyond belief waiting for the bus in Shinjuku and my iPod's battery was empty, with no plug in sight. I have no knowledge of a discount pass for Tokyo area, but I think there must be one similar to Kansai surutto card (?), a 2000 yen pass that you can use for going around osaka in a day or two (have never tried it personally, might do so in the future).

As for the sight I visited itself, I'd definitely visit the museum again in the future (belom puas, keburu tutup museumnya, dan belom juga sempet liat yang museum of western art di sebelahnya nat. sci. museum), the beach was a surfing beach, and the shrine was.... unusual. I'm sure I've babbled quite a lot about it on Twitter anyway. 

I'm currently entertaining the idea of visiting more places in Japan, perhaps northward of Tokyo. The hard thing is really, deciding where to go, as I'm not a shopping person, and not a shrine person (not feeling particularly religious at the moment). Some museums will inevitable only have explanations in Japanese, and climbing mountains isn't really my style (remember the disastrous ski trip?). One option is to visit Karlin in Kanazawa (and she mentioned there'll be another SEF senior, Oda, studying there from this October), but aside from that, we'll see how it goes. 

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

To-Do List..

..while in Indonesia:

- Cari CD The Trees And The Wild. Dan artis-artis lainnya! Karena lebih murah daripada beli di Jepang. Yang kepikiran sekarang: St. Vincent, Hurts, OK Go, The Morning Benders, Girls, Mutemath. Belum memutuskan apa bakal beli OST Eclipse atau nggak. Di satu sisi, lagu-lagunya keren. Di sisi lain... Twilight saga. Bah.
- Buku! Kopi Merah Putih. Chickenstrip, kalau orang rumah belum beli. Kalau sampai pulang belum beli Skulduggery Pleasant juga, mungkin di Indonesia ada.
- Nyobain Penyetan Mas Kobis (?) yang dikoar-koarin Danti. Tapi perlu latihan makan cabe lagi dulu.

Kalau meet-up sih jelas lah ya. :D

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Tips Membatalkan Presentasi

Anda baru pertama kali datang/ berpartisipasi di konferensi ilmiah? Anda tahu kalau sebagian hadirin akan tidur meski tidak lelap? Atau Anda tahu tapi tetap demam panggung? Jangan kuatir, ikuti langkah jitu berikut untuk membatalkan sesi Anda!

1. Kenalilah panitia penyelenggara yang ada. Mereka biasanya mudah dikenali dengan baju panitia, tag nama panitia, ataupun sikap yang sangat sosial.
2. Perhatikan panitia yang punya fitur tubuh paling unik. Bisa berupa, misalnya: panitia cowok yang punya rambut dikepang panjang sepunggung. Mirip punya suku Na'vi gitu.
3. Tebar pesona Anda. Deiphnophobia? Atasi dulu untuk sementara hingga Anda bisa duduk bersebelahan di suatu kesempatan. Paling baik di waktu makan siang hari pertama, karena jelas semua peserta masih berada di venue.
4. Basa-basi, hingga ke topik yang paling jelas: tanyakan apakah [fitur tubuh uniknya] asli, dan untuk kasus rambut suku Na'vi, bolehlah minta pegang.
5. Genggam erat, tarik kuat [YANK!] hingga ia hilang keseimbangan dan jatuh! Segera setelah ia jatuh, tindih badannya dengan kaki atau lutut Anda [Pin him to the ground!] dan tertawalah sesuai karakteristik tawa jahat jumawa anda [MUAHAHAHAHA!], lalu sambung dengan pernyataan lantang dan menggelegar, "Gorg 59A-omega, kita bertemu lagi! Tapi kali ini aku mengenalimu biarpun kau menyamar menjadi manusia! Muahahahaha! Muahahahahahahaha!"

Jika diikuti dengan i'tikaf dan berserah diri pada Yang Maha Kuasa (dan yang berwenang) insya Allah slot bicara Anda akan ditarik. Insya Allah amin!

Penyangkalan: penulis sama sekali tidak bertanggung jawab atas potensi kerugian material maupun non-material yang mungkin timbul sebagai akibat mengikuti panduan ini. Seluruh tanggung jawab dan konsekuensi ditanggung oleh pelaksana panduan.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Dari Majalah ke Sepeda

Jadi ceritanya saya Jumat kemarin diajakin untuk ikut latihan debat. Habis kelas Elementary Listening yang habis buat twitteran, saya cari bangku yang kosong di perpus pusat sambil nunggu balasan SMS cari tahu ruangnya di mana. Bosen, saya hampir ambil jurnal akademis tentang seni keramik (!) dari rak pas tiba-tiba pandangan tertumbuk pada satu rak yang isinya majalah Time.

Kebeneran ada satu yang mencuat yang cover storynya tentang Twitter. Dan karena saya waktu itu lagi nyelesain nulis bagian terakhir Tokyo chronicle, lumayan kan kalo ada tambahan bahan hinaan?

Tapi seperempat buka-buka halamannya, ternyata ada artikel tentang Tebing Tojinbo, yang deskripsi lokasinya disebut "Dari Kyoto ke arah utara." Yang akhirnya bikin saya twitteran tentang topik bunuh diri ini deh.

Dulu sekitar tahun 2007-2008, saya rutin beli Newsweek dan Time di Reading Light. Maklum, murah, cuma 6000 rupiah. Dijual--entah kenapa--tanpa cover. Sayangnya--entah kenapa lagi--lama-lama mereka ga jualan majalah itu lagi. Baru pas saya tinggal di Obaku, mereka langganan Time yang disediakan buat dibaca di common room. Lumayan buat bacaan kalau sambil nunggu baju kotor dicuci di ruang sebelah.

Saya ngga kangen pengen tinggal di Obaku, buat ke kampus 1 jam sendiri, jalan kaki 15 menit ke Obaku station, lalu dari Demachiyanagi station jalan kaki lagi 15 menit buat ke kampus. Pas berangkat sih OK, jalannya turun, kalo lagi buru-buru bisa lari. Waktu balik? Udah cape, nanjak lagi. Mau beli sepeda juga tanggung, toh tetep harus jalan ini.

Jadinya saya baru punya sepeda setelah pindah deh.

Saya cerita soal sepeda saya sekalian ya, biar puas ngalor-ngidulnya.

Terakhir saya punya sepeda tuh waktu SMP, yang jaraknya mungkin sekitar satu km lebih sedikit dari rumah. Ya sekira jarak apartment saya sekarang lah ke kampus. Sekira dua puluh menit kayuh santai.

Omong-omong, saya ga pernah yakin harus nyebut tempat tinggal saya sekarang apa. Apartemen rasanya terlalu bergengsi, karena asosiasinya sama gedung bertingkat tinggi di pusat kota. Sementara gedung saya tinggal ini cuma 3 lantai. Dorm? Cocok sih buat tempat tinggal saya di Obaku, karena memang itu punya universitas. Tapi tempat sekarang ini kan dikelola swasta. Mau disebut kosan, rasanya seperti bukan kosan, yang punya implikasi ada ibu kos. Tempat ini ga ada supervisornya yang hidup di sini. Bahasa Jepangnya sih 'heya', yang punya arti generik, karena ruangan tempat dosen di prodi juga disebut 'heya'. Nama gedungnya sendiri ada kata 'plaza'-nya.

Ehm, saya melantur. Mari kembali ke sepeda saya saja. Yang paling saya suka adalah fakta bahwa sepeda ini saya terima gratis dari Mbak Kiki waktu dia mau balik ke Indonesia. Katanya sih dia juga dapet dari lungsuran mahasiswa Indonesia juga awalnya. It has character lah.

Kesan pertama waktu saya pertama pakai dari kampus buat ketemu Mbak Kiki buat terakhir kali sebelum paginya dia pulang adalah: ringan banget dikayuhnya. Dan hampir tanpa suara! Maklumlah, sepeda terakhir yang saya pakai itu sepeda jengki, yang tiap dikayuh ada bunyi "sreeet, sreeet, sreeet".

Jadi saya mengayuh dengan bahagia deh buat pertama kalinya, pulang dari kampus ke Apartemen/Dorm/Kosan/Kamar. Apapunlah.

Taunya paginya bannya bocor. :( Memang Mbak Kiki bilang dia jarang pakai sih. Wong kontrakan dia jalan dari kampus ngga sampai 5 menit.

Kalau dipikir-pikir, biar saya dapetnya gratis, saya udah keluar duit lumayan banyak beli ini-itu buat si sepeda item lungsuran ini. Mulai dari jasa tambal ban (pertama kali saya bayar 1680 yen. Sebulan kemudian tambal ban lagi di tempat lain, 790 yen), karet rem baru (dua set, untuk ban depan dan belakang, masing-masing 698 yen), lampu (798), oli (198), pompa (598), bel (397), kawat rem (298), dan tentu saja, jas hujan. Saya sekarang punya tiga jas hujan. yang pertama model standar, satu lembar besar dengan lubang untuk kepala (798), yang tahunya tetep bikin basah jins. Lalu saya nemu ada yang jual jas hujan 270 yen, dengan kancing di depan dan panjangnya sampai separuh paha. Dan tetap bikin jins basah. Pasrah, saya akhirnya beli yang agak mahal sedikit, 1270 yen, jas hujan yang model jaket dan celana.

Selain jas hujan, pertama kali beli karet rem, habis beli, bingung masangnya pakai apa, akhirnya beli pernik-pernik kunci buat buka dan pasang sekrup-sekrupnya deh. 298 yen.

Jadi kalau ditotal, euh, hampir sepuluh ribu yen? Buset.

Mau tahu barang terakhir yang saya beli terkait sepeda ini? Barang terakhir ini agak unik, karena awalnya saya bahkan ga tau saya perlu. Saya cuma tahu kalau setiap ke kampus atau pulang, pantat saya basah. Karena saya pikir ini keringat, maka saya lempar pertanyaan ini di jaringan sosial saya.

Elisa menyarankan kalau mungkin penyebabnya adalah seperti di bawah ini:



Yang membuat saya pasrah. Apa boleh buat toh? Kan ga mungkin saya telanjang pantat ke kampus? Seseksi apapun pantat saya.

Tahunya di hari Minggunya saya bosen ngamar, dan pengen keluar sekalian belanja stok makanan. Mumpung lagi agak cerah setelah Sabtu seharian gerimis. Waktu saya membungkuk buat buka kunci rantai sepeda, saya tekan sadelnya untuk tumpuan. Dan "pssssssssh", sponnya mendesis sambil meneteskan air.

OH! Jadi ternyata karena sadelnya berlubang, tiap kali saya duduki, tekanan berat badan saya (yang lebih ringan dari beratnya Tjues :D) membuat sponnya mengeluarkan simpanan airnya. Dan alih-alih menetes ke jalan, celana saya menyerap tampungan air hujannya, yang lalu membuat celana saya basah sampai tujuan.

Jadi sesuai metode ilmiah, sayapun menyusun hipotesa, kalau ada yang menutupi lubang itu, airnya ga akan diserap celana, dan saya pun tetap kering sepanjang hari! Di coop kampus ada yang jual lakban, tapi sorenya di D2 Home Depot saya menemukan penutup sadel. 498 yen. AHA! Ini lebih praktis dan bisa langsung dipasang!*

Dan pantat saya kini tetap terjaga kekeringannya!** :D

Terakhir, ada yang tahu kenapa kata 'gowes' sering dipakai buat sinonim kata 'kayuh'? Menggowes sepeda. Gowes ke Bandung. Kenapa ke barat (Go west?)? Kenapa ga ke timur? Atau utara? Atau ke bawah? Atau kalau bukan dari arah, apakah itu onomatopoeia? Tapi yang bunyinya wesewesewes kan angin yang diusir pake Tolak Angin? Kalau ada yang tahu, boleh lho saya dicerahkan.

----
* Tahunya ukurannya ga pas, karena cover itu diproduksi untuk sadel city bike, sementara mountain bike saya sadelnya lebih kecil. Tapi toh yang penting bekerja.
** Mungkin ini sebabnya iklan-iklan pembalut wanita ngomongin kering kali ya?

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Fools Rush In

Ladies and gentlemen, behold the gooey goodness that is Zooey Deschanel*:



I was about to write a lengthy note about how sometimes out of a song, all it takes is just a phrase or a line in its lyrics, or a violin interlude to make it stuck in your head, but then I figured I can't really describe it. It would just be an exercise of futility.

It won't always make sense. What got me hooked to Saint Motel's "Butch" was "I can see us walking down the aisle." Yeah, I know, right? Speaking of which, I actually have a draft about the findings from massive SXSW torrent I downloaded earlier this year.

The best thing about that 8 GB worth of music torrent download was that it's legal. So not only I can feel generally cooler, listening to music from bands no-one ever heard about, it's kinda guilt-free.

We're practically swimming in the sea of illegally obtained music, movies, and series that it's honestly all too easy to take all that for granted. But really, we shouldn't.



Imogen Heap sure is not the only one. While artworks will always be produced, if only for its own sake, isn't it all too obvious that some (good quality) art would never see the light of day because the persons who would've created it thinks that it simply is not worth their time?

Surely it won't kill to once in a while, paying back for things we actually enjoy? After all, we pay for various things we don't need and we don't enjoy. Why should the reverse be applied for music--that entertains us and is actually enjoyable? And just so you know, CDs and live shows are three times as expensive here than in Indonesia**.

Which is why I feel grateful when an artist I like put his/her/their work for free. Or sometimes in exchange of your email address/tweet, but still, in essence, free. You can always delete a tweet later, or filter your mail if they starts flooding your inbox. That's how I got She & Him's "Fools Rush In" for free, in an exchange for Levi's sending mails to my inbox. Rogue Wave's "Solitary Gun"? A tweet.

---
* Do pardon the pun, please.
** Remember that there was a time when people actually saves up to buy casettes/records? Talk about caving in to instant gratification.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Tentang Sitkom

Pernahkah kau melihat pola di balik berbagai tayangan komedi situasi? Meski tidak tepat sama, tapi seolah-oleh ada pola yang diikuti dalam pembuatannya. Coba lihat tiga komedi situasi berikut: The Big Bang Theory, How I Met Your Mother, dan Better Off Ted. 

Tentu saja batasan jumlah tokoh utama tidak bisa dielakkan. Bahkan di luar tiga judul yang disebut di atas, suatu sitkom/serial hanya akan memiliki tokoh penting sekitar lima atau enam. Dan sitkom tersebut jelas akan memiliki:

1. The Rulemaker.
Dengan penokohan yang eksentrik, tidak peduli apa kata orang, dan sering membuat anggota kelompok lainnya menghela nafas panjang. Di HIMYM, ada Barney Stinson yang selalu mengejar wanita; di TBB, ada Sheldon Cooper yang terlalu cerdas; dan di BOT ada Veronica Palmer yang memimpin dengan tangan besi. 
Mungkin bahkan bisa disebut bahwa tipe inilah yang menggerakkan unsur komedi dari sitkom tersebut melalui ide gila, syarat yang tidak beralasan, dan tindakan yang tidak masuk akal. 

2. The Sensible One
Ted Mosby, Ted Crisp, Leonard Hoffstader. Tokoh ini adalah tokoh yang kemungkinan besar paling mirip dengan pemirsanya. Sadar akan norma sosial tapi terjebak dengan si rulemaker, dan seringkali dibawa plot untuk terombang-ambing dengan..

3. The Pretty One
Di season pertama HIMYM, Ted Mosby langsung tergila-gila dengan Robin Scherbatsky, seperti Leonard pada Penny di TBB. Dari season pertama BOT, Linda Zwordling mulai merasa ada yang istimewa dengan hubungannya dengan Ted Crisp. Terakhir di bagian grup itu, ada:

4. The Couple. 
Tidak selalu pasangan romantis seperti Lily dan Marshall di HIMYM, tapi bisa juga seperti Phil dan Lam di BOT, yang sering bersama-sama menjadi obyek teror Veronica. Di TBB jelas ada Raj dan Howard. 

Kita tertawa dan terhibur atas kesialan mereka, dan kadang terinspirasi. Kadang pula kita melihat beberapa teman kita dalam tokoh-tokoh yang ditampilkan para aktornya. Lalu apakah art imitates life? 

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Yang Lama, Yang Baru

Sebelum saya datang ke Jepang, saya sempat panik mencari ponsel yang kompatibel. Masalahnya, ponsel saya sejak 2007, w810i bukanlah ponsel 3G, jadi jelas tidak mungkin dipakai di sini. Selain itu, saya juga tahu kalau nanti ponsel apapun yang saya bawa dari Indonesia tidak akan berumur panjang. Karena toh agar bisa menggunakan layanan selular di sini saya harus beli kartu yang dibundel dengan ponsel baru.

Saya pun lalu sepakat bertukar ponsel dengan adik saya: W810 menjadi G502. Sama-sama SonyEricsson, saya bisa mengambil kontak lama dengan MyPhoneExplorer. Dari kunjungan singkat terakhir ke Singapura, saya punya SIM card Starhub, yang tinggal diaktifkan jelajahnya ke jepang. Jadi untuk beberapa waktu saya bisa menunda beli ponsel baru.

Sayangnya, Starhub ini kalau terima telepon dari Indonesia di jepang langsung menguras pulsa. Kirim sms ke Indonesia/Singapura/nomer lokal pun sama mahalnya. Akhirnya saya hanya sekali isi ulang kartu Starhub itu sebelum akhirnya beli ponsel. Hmm, jadi ingat: saya berhutang berapa ya ke Septian buat isi pulsa waktu itu?

Akhirnya saya diantar membeli ponsel. Karena kata orang-orang AU paling murah, saya putuskan untuk menjadi pelanggan AU. Di toko itu ada macam-macam model, dan dengan bodohnya saya terbujuk rayu untuk menjadi berbeda dan memilih ponsel dengan merek yang tidak lazim di Indonesia: sharp. Baru belakangan saya sadar: kalau AU pakai jaringan CDMA yang berbeda, jadi waktu pulang tidak bisa dibawa dan difungsikan. Lalu colokan yang berbeda jelas menambah sampah elektronik dan susah cari lingga yang kompatibel.

Namun demikian, adanya ponsel baru ini akhirnya mengistirahatkan G502.

Ponsel baru yang tidak sempurna. Tapi Toh untuk sementara waktu saya gembira: bisa ditelepon lagi, bisa perbarui twitter dari jalan, dll. Hingga saya sadar: AU tak punya fitur SMS. Untungnya tak berapa lama saya menemukan Diolabs. Bukan solusi yang sempurna, tapi terjangkau dan memenuhi kebutuhan saya.

Kejutan kedua adalah tagihan yang datang tak pernah di bawah 5000 yen. Saya kira awalnya ini karena buat aktivasi, tapi setelah bulan ketiga, saya pasrah dan hanya bisa ngegerundel.

Terakhir, selain User Interfacenya sangat tidak bersahabat (untuk input tanda koma saya perlu tekan tombol "0" belasan kali), baterainya juga payah. Dengan waktu bicara yang saya curigai kurang dari 4 jam, percuma saja koneksi lancar dan kencang kalau tak ada daya. Maka saya pun sering bengong saja di kereta, sampai ingat punya bacaan Animorphs di Stanza iPod.

Datanglah bulan april. Berbekal pencarian Google, saya pergi ke Softbank Ebisubashi sendirian. Kenapa sendirian? Karena saya tak tahu lagi mau ngrecokin siapa. Untungnya, semua lancar dan si manager yang fasih empat bahasa itu agak menghibur sementara saya menunggu proses verifikasi. Pertama kali saya dengar orang bercakap-cakap dengan bahasa arab di telepon.

Saya ke Ebisubashi dengan niat membeli pocket wifi. Karena apartemen yang baru tak dilengkapi dengan akses internet dan pendaftaran Hikari perlu kartu kredit yang saya tidak punya, saya kembali ke sistem cicilan paskabayar.

Yang saya suka adalah, kini iPod saya juga bisa terkoneksi internet lewat wifi, dan saya bisa memasang berbagai aplikasi.

Namun kini tiap pagi saya membawa empat item elektronik: sumbat telinga, iPod, pocket wifi dan ponsel. Karena memori masih harus dipakai untuk mengecek dompet, jam tangan, kunci, jaket dan kacamata, jelas akhirnya rawan lupa.

Dan minggu ini saya sudah dua kali ketinggalan ponsel di lab. Seperti yang saya bilang ke Ega dan dibilang oleh Cindy ke saya, ponsel Sharp saya ini kini ibarat istri tua. Tak dipedulikan, tapi kalau ketinggalan toh tak rela rasanya. (apalagi karena saya perlu alarmnya yang super nyaring di pagi hari).

Saya lalu jadi berpikir, mungkin kelakuan ini tidak terbatas di elektronik saja. Waktu SMA kelas satu dan dua, saya duduk semeja dengan teman saya yang namanya Yoga. Entah bagaimana, meja kami sering berdekatan dengan meja Retno dan Nana. Bukan ada masalah atau apa, hanya saja, setahun kemudian kami ada di kelas-kelas yang berbeda. Untuk menyingkat cerita, saya bilang saja we drift apart. And it's such a shame. Di tahun terakhir saya di sekolah itu, saya justru jadi dekat dengan kelompok baru. Yang baru kemarin menghina--dan menghibur saya yang nggak yakin manggar itu apa :)

Di sini saya mau menarik kesamaan dengan ganti-gantinya elektronik saya: begitu bertemu yang baru, yang lama jadi gampang terlupakan. Tapi tidak seperti friendship theoremnya Septian, saya menjadi berjarak bukan karena ada konflik, jadi tak bisa diterapkan. Kami kini masih berteman di Facebook (eh saya belum tambah Yoga jadi teman ding) tapi mungkin sebatas teman yang terbenam di ratusan atau ribuan teman maya yang lain. Yang alay dan yang normal. Yang narsis dan yang pemalu dan yang malu-maluin.

(alinea di bawah ini khusus ada karena saya tahu kakak saya baca blog ini. Say hi, everyone! Or better yet, stop reading)
Karena drift ini berlangsung jadi organik, saya juga tidak yakin akan berujung di mana. Apalagi setelah teman saya pacaran dengan kakak saya. Ya bagaimana ya, saya memang agak dingin dan susah berubah; jadi setelah ada jarak, ya agak awkward saja. To rephrase: I'm totally ok (i swear), but it might need something extraordinaire to--uh, you know, us to bond again. No hard feeling, tapi kalau ada beberapa hal yang sifatnya TMI dari teman *dan* kakak, saya perlu waktu untuk memprosesnya. Beberapa milenia cukup kok. Hehehe.

Eh saya jadi melantur ke mana-mana kan? Padahal awalnya cuma ingin bernostalgia dengan W810i malah berujung ke nostalgia SMA (yang membuat saya merasa tua; saya salahkan anak-anak sma yang baru lulus kemarin dengan segala dramanya!). Saya punya firasat besok tes kanji susulan bakal acakadut, jadi mengutip Apu pada pengunjung Kwik-E-Mart, "Thank you, come again!"

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Park

To be diplomatic, the take away from my visit to Hiroshima and Tokyo is this: I learned more mankind and myself. Which should be valuable in the long run, I hope. While in the short run, I’m all out of money: lodging, transport. Talk about burning hole in my pocket.
But I, again, digress. Let’s now start with Hiroshima. The purpose of my visit was… doesn’t matter. :P Just let me tell you about the peace memorial park. It’s a vast park hosting, among others, various monuments dedicated to various facets of the atomic bombing. It’s also where the Dome and the Museum located.

Genbaku Dome in a chilly morning. 

As I expected, it was the museum that succeeded to steal my attention. But it was different. I thought that I would be most bothered by the remains of the bomb victims: actual nails, locks of hair, and what-not. After all, that’s what was emphasized on David Sedaris’ account of the museum in When You Are Engulfed in Flames. “Each exhibit was sadder than the last,” he said.
But such is the beauty of a museum. It has different appeal for different people. Sick appeal.
Before I get too tedious, with my rambling, let me just say what really, really bothers me the most: the reason why Japan was chosen as the target of atomic bomb. Not Germany, not Italy.
In a nutshell, it was this: US believed that JP technology was less advanced than German’s; so should the bomb failed to explode, the likelihood of JP army (or navy?) being able to retrieve and picking out the bomb’s technology was slimmer.
That was point one. Lack of knowledge possession can indeed harm a country.
Two, is why the destruction wreaked was so massive. US made a list of potential A-bomb target cities before the actual bombing. The cities under the list was spared from air raids just so when it’s finally hit, the extent of the damage of an atomic bomb can be observed with certainty that those are the damage of an atomic bomb alone. No respect whatsoever of human lives. And if I got my memory straight, there was very little time window between the warning and the strike.
Not that it mattered, anyway. With the toxic black rain that comes after the initial strike and the residual radiation, I wondered if it really was better to perish under the mini-sun (the temperature of explosion was around 5000K, equivalent to the effective temperature of the sun).
It was unfathomable that US has no idea an A bomb will create massive devastation. So why go along with it? Here’s the lesson I learnt:
Men are petty.
Hiroshima was chosen because there was no PoW camp detaining Allied forces there. See, this is typical human. When I have no interest to be protected, might as well swing free. Just how many times we’ve seen conflicts/war/disaster in faraway lands and not moved even an inch to help? But come a conflict where someone we know lives there, and we raise hell.
Also, along the line of the declassified memo, I grasp that there was a pressure to use the atomic bomb against the enemy. Around that time, Japan was already on her knees. Even if the bomb had never been deployed, I believe we would’ve still seen her surrender. Germany had surrendered sometimes earlier, so, again, why bombing it still?
The answer was because Project Manhattan’s budget had ballooned to an astronomical scale. Had the war ended without its contribution, people who run the project would have been put under heavy scrutiny by the US congress. Which means that:
All that matter for men is to save their own asses.
Even further, the action was supported anyway, because the US wanted to limit Soviet’s influence on post-war reconstruction in Japan. At the time of the blow, Soviet had not been openly declared war with Japan, so their contribution to the result can be discounted. In other word, the whole thing is basically a
Battle of ego.
Sadly, I didn’t get very clearly why Nagasaki also got bombed several days later. But suffice it to say that I will need a huge leap of faith to believe in altruism ever again.
The saddest part is that from that time on, the mayor of Hiroshima always send a letter of appeal to countries conducting nuclear weapon test each time a test is conducted. They have a huge wall filled with the copy of all the letters sent. Impassionate, rational pleas. All but fall to deaf ears.
From that point on, every time I’m in a debate and got the side arguing for nuclear weapon, it feels like a little part of something dies within me.
Which if you happen to read my Tokyo chronicles, it really is my luck, no?

Monday, May 24, 2010

Bahasa, Language, 言語, Basa

Belajar bahasa baru adalah belajar melatih kesabaran. It teaches you humility, throws you back to the simplest of sentences. Ora gampang, tapi yen wis ngerti bakal iso pamer. 英語とインドネシア語と日本語とジャワ語。

01

Do I read a lot? Not enough, I think. Because what I read mostly are (young adults) fiction. I can't flaunt that I've read Marx or some influential bigwig biographies. Meanwhile, Jeff Lindsay's Dexter thoroughly entertained me.
I was bored out of my mind reading Stiglitz's Globalization and Its Discontent. I never finished Abraham. Dawkins' The God Delusion? Halfway. I have no curiosity to read Mein Kampf. I steer away from self-help books. Partly because I think "Who Moved My Cheese?" was a miss. That much money, for a 5-minute worth of reading.
And for some reason, I remember the last of YLI workshop series that I attended. There were six or seven persons in a table, and each table was given a book. We're supposed to negotiate among ourselves who got the book. I don't even remember the title, My Brother's Honeymoon? Honeymoon with My Sister? I don't remember who got the book, but it was a girl.
And suddenly a sliver of regret come across my mind. It must have been a good book, seeing that the facilitators went to the trouble of picking out the book. Did I miss an opportunity? Why did I refused it flat-out in the beginning?
Oh, what-ifs, life wouldn't be complete without you, would it?

02

Waktu Ega menulis tentang merasa tersinggung, saya terusik. Penasaran, kalau saya ada di posisi dia apa saya juga akan tersinggung. Sayang dia tak mau cerita.
Eh tapi ada yang marah dibilang "udah item, hidup lagi". Sampai-sampai si empunya kata diskors tiga semester. Kalau yang biasa ditujukan ke saya sih, kata sifatnya ditambah satu lagi: gendut. Tapi kok saya nggak berasa pengen gorok orang ya?
Sempat juga Luna Maya kelepasan bicara--maaf, twit--menyamakan wartawan dengan profesi tertua di dunia. Heboh tak terkira.
Lalu ada juga orang yang mengumpat, "Dasar homok!". Pakai "k", biar mantep. Kalau kebetulan yang diumpat orientasi seksualnya memang ke sesama jenis, tersinggungkah dia? (atas umpatannya, bukan huruf "k" nya).
Di SEF, kata-kata macam "Cino!" atau "Padang!" atau bahkan "Jawa!" dulu sering saya dengar. Kadang-kadang juga ditujukan ke saya. Tersinggung? Ngga.
Ada yang bikin gambar-gambar Nabi Muhammad. Saya lihat, tapi kok reaksi saya cuma bisa membatin kalau gambarnya jelek-jelek dan kasar ya?
Tampaknya jelas kalau batasan saya bukan batasan normal. Tapi lalu harus ditarik di manakah garis batas itu?

03*

ゴールデンウィークに私は友達と東京へディベートの大会に行きました。
京都から東京までハイウエーバスで行きました。その大会は東京のICUが催しました。そこには200人ぐらいがいました。そして、とてもにぎやかでした。私たちのチームはクオーターファイナルのラウンドでわせだ大学に負けました。
3日間後に新幹線で帰りました。次の日は先生のホームパーティに行きました。天気が良かったから、バーベキューをしました。
ゴールデンウィークは忙しかったですが、とてもおもしろかったです。

04

Saumpama paribasan "witing tresna jalaran saka kulina" kuwi pancèn bener, kudunè saiki aku wis bener-bener seneng karo astronomi.
Tekan saiki, yen diitung, ameh enem tahun sinau astronomi: setaun ing pelatihan lomba olimpiade, petang tahun kuliah, lan ameh setaun ing Jepang.
Tapi pancèn dasarè menungsa mesthi ana wae sing ra kebeneran, seprana-seprene ing jepang isanè sambatan kepengen bali.

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*Sebenarnya si turnamen itu bukan pas Golden Week sih, tapi karena pas GW sebenarnya saya ngerem di kamar untuk mengerjakan terjemahan, rasanya ngga pas buat dikumpulin di kelas Elementary Writing. Yes, it's a copy of my assignment.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Commonplace congratulation

What to do when congratulations become quotidien?
What to do when I need a congratulation that's more than the ordinary?
Whatever that is, I am proud I was--and I hope still am--a part of Student English Forum Institut Teknologi Bandung, Champion of ALSA UI E-competition 2010, EFL League of United Asian Debating Championship 2010, National Debating Competition Unpad 2010, Indonesian Varsities English Debate 2010. I raise my proverbial glass for them. And wishing them all the best of luck for JOVED and NUEDC!

Actually, proud is an understatement for this warm fuzzy feeling I got when I heard the news. Or was it too much weird concoction that tried to pass as sambel the night before?

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Tentang Memenggal Nama

Normalnya, orang Indonesia punya nama 2-4 kata. Kalau ada yang namanya 5 atau 6 bagian, berarti orang tuanya kreatif atau bener-bener niat ikut program KB. Kalau mereka rencana punya anak banyak, namanya bisa dibagi buat beberapa anak tuh. 

Nama saya terdiri dari 3 bagian.  Dan tahukah Anda bahwa kata Masyhur adalah salah satu lema dalam KBBI?

Omong-omong lagi tentang nama di Indonesia, apakah Anda pernah memperhatikan kalau semua nama panggilan pasti ada versi suku kata tunggal-nya untuk memanggil dan menyapa? Misal ada teman Anda namanya Joko, pasti kalau manggil jadi "Jok, Jok, beliin cendol dong." atau kalau nama teman Anda Endang, jadi "Ndang! Buang kucing itu!" 

You get the idea. 

Trus kalau Masyhur? Pemenggalannya yang benar ya Masy-hur. Tapi cuma ada dua orang yang mengikuti kaidah ini: teman saya Tomo yang manggil Masy (atau Mash ya?), dan Toto yang manggil "Hur, Hur."

Sisanya? Ada tiga kategori: 
- yang pemenggalannya ga sesuai tapi ngejanya bener: "Syhur, Syhur" di kategori ini ada misalnya, Ria.  
- yang manggil saya mas, bisa karena saya lebih tua, atau ngikutin nama panggilan saya di rumah: Mamas. Yah, orang-orang rumah yang ga ada darah Sunda mana tahu kalau saya akhirnya kuliah di Bandung? Omong-omong, kalau Anda belum tahu, ‘mamas’ di bahasa Sunda digunakan untuk menyebut penis. So there. 
- orang yang salah eja, dan manggil saya dengan jadi either 'masur', 'mansyur', ato 'mansur'. Golongan ketiga ini mayoritas adanya. *hela nafas* Versi satu suku katanya: "sur"

Ada lagi golongan pencilan: adik saya, yang manggil saya "le" *rolling eyes*

Karena saking seringnya dipanggil orang-orang golongan ketiga, lama-lama jadi kebiasaan juga. Kalau saya dipanggil oleh Tomo atau Toto suka nggak nyaut. Masalah kebiasaan saja  Awal-awal di sini, karena memperkenalkan diri pakai nama ‘Hilmy’ (kalau Farah bilang: Hirumii), suka ngga nyaut juga.

Yang saya heran adalah nama Aziz. Populer, tapi entah kenapa sering salah dieja juga, jadi ‘azis’. Atau, lebih parah lagi, ‘ajis’. Yang cuma beda satu huruf dengan najis. Tapinya, ‘aziz’ dieja dengan katakana, jadinya a-ji-zu. Ya sudahlah ya.      

Kontradiktif memang: orang-orang tua ingin memberi nama-nama keren, tapi masyarakat belum siap menerimanya *ditoyor*. Paling tidak sisi positifnya adalah: orang-orang seperti saya akan menjadi banyak dan bisa bersimpati satu sama lain! Anyone with me for TALIMAS/komuniTAs pemiLIk naMA Susah? :P
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Kalau saya ditanya pengennya dipanggil kayak gimana, saya paling suka opsi satu. Boleh kok kalau bener ngejanya trus pamer/ngeluh dikit ke saya, kayak misalnya sms "Syhur (buset panjang bener sih manggil lu biar bener ngejanya), dateng latihan jam 3 ya." Yah, kayak Norman atau Aino gitu.

The tweet here inspired this post.   

Also related: apalah artinya sebuah nama! more spelling and names? cerita sebuah bon. (actually, banyak bon)

Friday, April 23, 2010

Ngalor-ngidul Ngomongin Negara Lain

Saya sebenarnya ingin bercerita tentang orang-orang di tempat belajar baru saya, tapi karena niatnya lebih ke ghibah, saya bikinnya di ceruk saya yang satu lagi. Saya kasih password saja sekalian lah ya.

Jadi saya sekarang ingin bercerita tentang teman saya yang lain lagi. Awalnya saya menyapanya karena ingin minta pendapat hal remeh tentang kemampuan bahasa. Setelah ngalor-ngidul sedikit, dia bercerita kalau dia sedang mengurus masalah pindah kewarganegaraan. Dia bilang, katanya mau pindah ke negara subtropis itu.

Yang bikin saya tercenung justru ini: sejak saya hidup di Jepang, rasanya saya kok malah menggapai-gapai sisa-sisa akar Indonesia saya. Lebih spesifik lagi: mencari warna Jawa saya. Jelas saya tidak sendiri sebagai Jawa murtad: nggak bisa ngomong Jawa dengan unggah-ungguh yang sesuai, malas diajak ngobrol basa-basi dengan tetangga-tetangga yang lebih tua karena rasanya pakewuh kalo ngga pake bahasa yang bener, tapi toh nggak tahu caranya. Jelas ada banyak jamur yang saya kenal, tapi rasanya kalau jamur yang lahir-besar-hidup 18 tahun di daerah yang notabene bukan area perkotaan besar, rasanya saya baru nemu satu: saya sendiri.

Um, mungkin sama adik/kakak saya ding. Tapi rasanya mereka lebih bisa bersosialisasi. Oh, omong-omong, maksud saya jamur itu Jawa murtad.

Jadilah saya sekarang orang Jawa, yang tidak bisa berbahasa Jawa, hidup di Jepang yang jauh nian, dan hanya mampu berlangganan beberapa blog bahasa Jawa di RSS reader saya. Kalau anda pengen tahu, boleh lho dicek, di sebelah kiri laman di yang saya taut di sini ada folder "jawa".

Tapi mari kita balik lagi ke masalah kewarganegaraan. Pertama kali saya ke luar negeri waktu SMA, saya ingat waktu di mobil menuju Simeiz dari Sevastopol, saya sempat berpikir, "Kayaknya kalau hidup di sini enak juga nih," sambil memandangi lahan-lahan yang memang rata-rata kosong dan hanya ditumbuhi semak-semak di sepanjang jalan. Mungkin secara intrinsik manusia pengen tahu bagaimana rasanya tinggal di luar negeri kali ya. Kalau kata teman saya yang lain lagi, urip kuwi sawang sinawang: kita melihat orang lain, membandingkan diri, dan berandai-andai jadi orang itu. Hidup di Indonesia: nggak bisa naik bis tanpa ketemu pengamen, ngga bisa berhenti di lampu merah tanpa ketemu pengemis, ngga bisa ke stasiun tanpa ditawarin porter atau calo tiket. Semuanya jadi berasa lebih baik di negeri orang. For better or for worse, beberapa hari setelahnya saya berturut-turut: mengalami insiden kantor pos, melihat pedagang buku dengan aksara cyrilic yang asing, dan secara umum makan makanan yang ngga ada rasanya. satu rombongan akhirnya menghabiskan condiment yang ada di meja tiap kali makan (masih ingat waktu saya cerita insiden babi?). Tahunya lagi, beberapa bulan setelah saya pulang, Ukraina beberapa kali ditampilkan di halaman depan Kompas: unjuk rasa di lapangan pusat kota Kiev, pendukung oranye versus pendukung biru, dan drama calon PM yang diracun hingga wajahnya menjadi buruk rupa.

Intinya, saya sekarang dalam kondisi sawang sinawang sama teman saya yang pertama saya ceritakan di awal tulisan ini. setahu saya dia nggak menguasai bahasa negara tujuannya. tapi dengan sukarela .... Ya sudahlah ya. Saya sendiri sekarang nggak berpikir pengen jadi warga negara Jepang. Baca saja belum lancar. Dan sekarang saya sekedar menghitung hari. Untuk kembali. Ada apa setelah kembali? Kita pikir saja nanti.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Terrific Tuesday

I thought I'd better not blog about the Kings of Convenience live show last week (and keep it all solely in my memory), but then I decided against myself during another round of toilet epiphany. Also, initially a bit torn whether to post this in my posterous or this blog (as posterous will create a nice alliteration with my intention: for posterity's sake).

The events leading up to the event itself was not entirely favorable, having realised that I had inadvertently missed out Jamie Cullum live show the night before because I mixed up the date. The trip from Kyoto itself also was not pleasant: neither during the bus ride to Kyoto station or the train ride to Shin Osaka station I got a seat. Almost two hours fidgeting on my feet. I was, however, pleasantly surprised finding out the Kyoto-Osaka train ride was faster than I expected.

So I came to Club Quattro, and silently stifle my excitement upon seeing that the venue was really no bigger than the multimedia room in TVST ITB. I mean, yay, it won't be a mob-like crowd! The only thing I regret was upon seeing that all the seats are taken, I then decided to secure a spot against a railing in the back. Still a great view (I made sure I had my glasses with me when I left for campus), but considerably further from the stage. When I first arrived, there was still ample room in the front, but I can't really bear the thought of having to stand up for a long while.

Stage not that far, even from where I stand.

The show itself started a bit late, around ten or fifteen past seven, and when the duo showed up (I remembered thinking this upon seeing Eirik Boe: the hair. it's like he's coming straight from the Riot album art), they started playing right away.

Now here comes the part where my description won't do justice: I am sad to say that the show didn't magically alleviate me of tired legs. I can't say that they seemed like deities, and partly glad of that. And they put on one great show.

See? Even I can't comprehend what I was trying to say.

Anyway, it was a very engaging show. Which at some points reminds me of waiting Apresiasi Sastra class to start, listening to their Live in Rome recording. It was a little bit like that and then some. If you didn't catch the show at another city, give it a listen. Even from audio recording alone, you can feel the vibe.

Several songs into the show, Erlend Oye disappeared quite a while from the stage to look for water and towel, and when he came back, he was bringing extra water bottles and paper cups for people near the stage! I looked at my own drink, empty long before the show started, and the bar was closed during the show. So that was a major reason of my regret being in the back railing*.

The water part come as no surprise, really, because the room, being packed, was a bit hot. I myself took off my sweater not long after the show started. I think it was when Erlend went looking for the water, Eirik said to the audience that he needed to unbutton his shirt a bit more. Naturally, somebody in the audience then shouted, "Take off your pants!**"

Another memorable bit of their performance was when they played I'd rather dance with you. Erlend actually went down from the stage and dance in the middle of the audience! I really can't imagine him doing that in Sabuga. (If you were in Sabuga and he did exactly that, please, please, please don't burst my little happiness bubble here.)

It was overall a really great show, I can't imagine a better way of spending a Tuesday night, or a better way to spend 5800 yen (and 500 for drink) here. I really wouldn't have mind if the show continue for another hour; I wished I had snapped some pictures during the show (my search for pics from the show on flickr two days later was not fruitful); I cursed my iPod for failing to save the audio recording, but hey, we can't all have what we wanted, can we?

After all, it was a night I spend most of it smiling inside.

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*Yes, I know what you're muttering: Murah. But it didn't really surprise you, isn't it? Coming from a guy happily eaten free lunch in Kobe before he was tricked into present in--oh nevermind.
**I'm not sure, tapi rasanya yang teriak ini adalah bapak-bapak bule botak yang tinggi halfway the distance between me and the stage. Which made me realized (even more) kalo banyak penontonnya yang bule. Hence my tweet about height that night :D

Monday, April 5, 2010

Being Atlas

So we were talking about different extremes of the same spectrum: homicide and suicide. I remember blurting out comparison with Atlas: it's not like the burden of the heaven rests on our shoulders. I vaguely recall being vindicated, as the other end of conversation suggests that we would see a lot more suicides if the world indeed rests on our shoulders.

But is that really so? Sometime later I found me comparing myself on different situations. Whenever I have people rely on me, perhaps for direction of what turn to take, I willingly step down the car and ask any nearby person. Looking for way out of subway, I can be more assertive. 

Conversely, when no-one depends on me, I revert back to being languid. Case in point: myself at present. I don't feel the school is such a big deal and hence my inertia. 

Even in the realm of fiction, this is somewhat similar. Take a look Harry Potter--or Percy Jackson, or practically every other protagonist ever penned: the burden of the world suddenly thrusted to their shoulders and they at the very least try to stand their ground. So could it be that what's keeping it together for mankind is the sense of importance? The sense that when we fail, the world is also doomed with us? That we are the only one able to make difference?

Monday, March 22, 2010

If I was a piece of furniture I would be...

At first thought, If I was a piece of furniture I would be that well-worn bolster pillow that no-one would want to get close with on first impression. But for those who worn the pillow, I'll be indispensable. At least until rationale took over and the voice saying, "It's unsanitary," grow stronger.

But that pic says everything I want to say. In one word. Damn.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Spree

This, after 130K JPY for new place to live, 12K for lodging while in Hiroshima, and an estimate of 20K to go Hiroshima and back. That's not included this month rent, mobile phone, electricity, and health insurance, of about 25K. Expensive? You bet. 


Madness? Probably. Two live show tickets, Jamie Cullum and Kings of Convenience, only a day apart. And a new book. 

I dare you to guess the total expense.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Tentang Buah

Ibu guru dulu bilang, buah dan sayuran adalah bagian dari empat sehat lima sempurna.  Biar tetap sehat, katanya. Vitamin dan serat baik untuk raga. Anehnya, biar sayuran semua dianggap setara, begitu tentang buah semua mau angkat bicara.

Biarlah, toh semua orang punya buah kesukaan masing-masing.

Karena lembut rasa dagingnya, ada yang cinta durian. Aromanya semerbak, rasanya memabukkan. Meski banyak dijual di jalanan, banyak pula yang hanya bisa memendam hasrat yang mengawang.

Tapi orang bule tak suka durian. Di kamar hotel mewah durian dilarang, sama seperti binatang piaraan. Katanya tak boleh membawa benda berbau tajam. Sebagian lain bilang kulitnya yang berduri bikin upaya tak sepadan. Sampai-sampai ada peribahasa menunggu keruntuhan durian.

Lalu ada yang bilang apel itu buah surga. Yang bikin terusirnya Adam dan Hawa, kena murka Yang Maha Kuasa. Manis, berair dan penuh gizi, tak heran banyak pula yang suka. Kadang-kadang biar singset makan satu hari cukup apel saja.

Dan lagi-lagi ada yang murka. Katanya itu buah dari Barat budayanya. Kalau kita cukuplah mangga saja. dibilang pula itu apel yang membuat Adam berjakun dan Hawa punya buah dada. Buah dada, sumber godaan para pria. Bikin naik turun buah adam saja.

Sementara ada yang tergila-gila dengan mangga. Emas warna dagingnya, lembut dan manis di lidah kita. Bagaimana tidak? Editorial Kompas tahun enamlima sampai menduga, mungkin bukan apel tapi manggalah si buah surga. Aromanya wangi tak terkira, manggalah buah tropis yang paling prima.

Tentu saja tak semua memuja mangga.  Buah musiman, mana bisa memuaskan dahaga sepanjang kala? Belum lagi seratnya yang melilit gigi. Kalau tidak hati-hati malah bikin repot sendiri.

Kasihan pula nasib tomat. Merah ranum nan menggoda, banyak orang mempertanyakan statusnya.
"Sayuran!" kata sebagian.
"Itu buah!" bela yang pendapatnya berlainan.

Tentu saja tomat tak sendiri. Ada cabai yang juga jadi anak tiri. Kadang mereka bersua, dan bersama garam, bawang, dan terasi berkomplot membuat orang menitikkan air mata.

Para pramuka berpendapat paling superior ya buah kelapa. Tak tanggung-tanggung, mereka kibarkan lambang tunas kelapa kemana-mana. Sambil hafalkan dwidarma dan dasadarma.

Mungkin tak hanya anak-anak yang tak suka pramuka, apalagi buah kelapa. Disuruh datang oleh pembina, uh malas tak terkira!

Lain lagi kisah buah jeruk. Jingga kulitnya, sedap dipandang mata. Harumnya bikin orang bernafas lega. Kini ruangan aroma jeruk jamak rasanya.

Tapi jeruk pun tak tanpa cela. Dituduh tak konsisten dengan buah sesaudara. Dibandingkan dengan jeruk nipis yang kecil masam, disandingkan dengan jeruk bali yang besar hambar.

Untung jeruk bali hatinya besar. Bilang kulitnya bisa dibikin mobil-mobilan dengan roda bundar.  Biar tak akurat yang penting tak bikin tangis anak-anak terus-terusan diumbar.

Begitulah jika para tukang buah berlaga. Tak ada yang bisa memuaskan segalanya. Tukang durian membenci tukang mangga, tukang jeruk dan tukang kelapa banyak kelainya.

Maka ketika saya datang ke perkumpulan lengkeng tanpa sengaja, tak kaget lagi banyak yang umbar kata-kata cela dan hina. Lengkeng, kecil buahnya, manis rasanya, rupanya hitam legam bijinya. Tak tampak berbahaya, tapi toh sama saja dengan buah lainnya.

Tidakkah ini membuat Anda bertanya, bagaimana pendapat buah itu sendiri antar sesama? Toh pans buah dan es shanghai segar tak terkira. Mungkin hanya tukang buahnya yang perlu ganti kacamata kuda.

Tapi jangan disangka ini metafora. Saya tak benci durian, apel atau mangga. Kalau saya diberi jeruk, tomat dan kelapa saya terima saja. Saya hanya sedang ingin semangka.

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Gambar durian dari sini, lengkeng dari sini, sambel dari sini, mangga dari sini. gambar mangga oleh fir0002 sesuai lisensi GFDL
Saya baru saja mengecek kotak pesan suara saya, dan ternyata saya diajak ikut perkumpulan lengkeng lagi besok sore! Sheesh.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

On marking mistakes

So the plenary session was shameful. Anyone with half the intelligence of a feline will know that was disgraceful.

On the other hand, some say that the brouhaha is a forward step than the sleeping House. The dumb and blind yea-sayer.

Surely there's a middle ground?

Also, this is today's question: aren't we the one who puts them there to begin with? So when we shame them, in effect, are we not shaming out our own past incapability to make an informed decision?

Seeing all this, then vowing ignorance in future election will be one of the most dangerous thing to choose.

Admittedly, ignorance is the easy way out. it also require no hard work on our part.

But where should we start to disentangle the messiness that is Indonesian politics? Let's know everything that is there to know about. Let's find out everything about this Century bailout. Then, let's make a decision of our own.

Let's not support Sri Mulyani or Boediono simply because a lot of people say so. Or, god forbid, because that’s what foreign press says. On the other hand, let's not hate and debase them just because some people shout bailout is evil on the top of their lungs. Let's decide for ourselves.

We often argue that the people, the grassroots level people are capable of making a sound and rational decision. We are those people. If we say we are smart and rational, let's act like it.

We shall mark those who can perform, and those who fail to deliver in today's Senayan so that we don't make the same mistake twice.

Decision by elimination process. it sometimes is the best guide to determine the best estimate. Also, this way we shall not be daunted by the sheer number of candidates come the next election time. Or by the glossy blurbs and TV spots.

Let's also be optimist. What are the chances that we can't find a handful of men and women truly worthy of our votes in the future? When we have 229.965.000 of people, even the smallest possibility may result in tangible number.

And come 2014, let's not forget everything that has unfolded.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Kalau saja Hitler..

Kalau Hitler mirip saya, maka tak mungkin banyak orang menderita. Karena waktu diberitahu total pengeluaran biaya perang maka dia akan balik melotot, "BERAPA?"

Kalau Hitler mirip saya, mungkin lebih banyak warga Yahudi yang tidak disiksa. Terutama karena saya tak pernah bisa membedakan yang Jawa dan yang Sunda. Apalagi rambut pirang dan kulit terang? Bagi saya mirip semua.

Kalau Hitler mirip saya, mungkin perang dunia tak perlu ada. Kalau saya diajak memperluas tahta, saya tolak saja, toh tak perlu Polandia kalau sudah punya tanah Austria.

Kalau Hitler mirip saya, tak perlu ada ide kreasi ras adidaya. Apalagi ras sendiri, karena lebih sering saya frustasi dengan sifat budaya sendiri. Tak malu-malu kalau tak tepat waktu, tapi begitu ada mau, bicara tak bertuju.

Kalau Hitler mirip saya, mungkin setelah mati jasadnya tak jadi rebutan di mana-mana. Karena kalau Hitler mirip saya, dia tak banyak beda dengan orang biasa.

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Anda mungkin suka juga: Aku bayangkan Indonesia jadi adidaya

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Delivery Menu: Books

When I say that the Internet is the most powerful thing there is, you'd better believe me. Also, you'd better believe me when I say it is vast. It's easy to get lost (and then found something out of it).

All I wanted was just tidying up my Google Reader subscription, and one of the drop-down menu on the left suggested a feed for City of Letters blog. And who am I to refuse a recommendation?

So that's how I wound up knowing about readingwalk. And I thought, this is a pretty neat solution for a creature of habit, like me. They decribe themselves as a delivery book rental. Which basically means you can borrow a book by placing order on their web or by sms, and they'd have the book delivered to your frontdoor.

To be honest, this is exciting, as I don't think this is a new concept, but rather, it takes an established idea, and then maxed it up for the customers' convenience.

Because let's face it, how often do we plan going to a bookstore other than on whimsical basis, say while waiting for a friend in a mall?  So how many books we end up reading? As much as I enjoyed reading ebooks on my iPod Touch screen, it's always nice to be able to touch the paper. And for a good mystery reading, flip-flip-flip, oh there's the clue I missed earlier!

OK, so I am partial to childhood nostalgic moment when I was reading Detektif Cilik Hawkeye Collins & Amy Adams, only to be unable to recognize the series other than by saying that, "One of the character is named Hawkeye," during my later teenage years. And seeing the series on their list of 'Petualangan' books was all it takes to excite me.

And of course if you'd prefer the more serious ones, there's Tetralogi Pulau Buru and other Pramoedya's books. and this is where the rental concept comes in handy, those books aren't exactly cheap, I remembered shelling out significant money for those books.

On the other hand, the categories are rather impressive as well. Comics? Check. Magazines? Pernikahan, Desain Interior, and Traveling. Books categories? Covering Metropop to Bisnis&Manajemen to Desain Grafis (and many more), I say there's a healthy chance you'll find what you want there. Or else, one of the book on their booklist might appeal you while perusing the gallery.

I'm thinking it has similarities with Netflix here. And just like Netflix's potential to let its customer see more (and learn more), readingwalk surely has what it takes to make us read more (and hence learn more). Even if it's just to relive the feeling of being a child again, see the world with wide-eyed curiosity, just like we did when we were little. Or by helping us learning something new, or ignite the longing to see somewhere new.

Because that's what I feel after I read J.P.V.F.K. (Jakarta-Paris Via French Kiss) by Syahmedi Dean. Obviously I know nothing about the fashion world (Project Runway is just not my thing), and this book is a neat example how reading something can expand your knowledge horizon beyond your usual idea diet. Also, if The Naked Traveler doesn't make you feel like backpacking to some exotic places, then I don't know what will.

A little friendly caveat, though: if you're using Opera, you might want to turn on Opera Turbo. For some reason, the site took it's time to load up, and for a great many of you it'll be a deal breaker. Just persevere. Or try their Facebook page.

Oh, and apparently they're only serving East Jakarta and Bekasi area. But surely it won't hurt if you pester them to expand their service? If you also like the idea.

Now I wonder, do they have Kopi Merah Putih? And if you wonder if this is a contest submission, it is.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Me?

I look at the mirror and I ask, "Who are you?"
But all I get is an uncomfortable silence.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Skiing - II

When it comes to skiing, unless you have a terminal illness that can only be miraculously cured by rolling on snow as long as possible while trying to slide downhill, it is generally inadvisable to:

- Pick a ski resort that took 10 hours to get to and 11 hours to get back from.
or,
- Pick a ski resort that has little or no information in English (or any other language you master).

Particularly if you are:

- A total beginner in snow-sport.
- Have an irrational fear of heights.
- Speed averse, or generally risk averse.
- Forgot to pack any Counterpain or similar medication.

But if you prefer not to heed my friendly advice, then:

- Be prepared to pay 15800 yen for transport, lodging, and ski board+clothing rental, plus 1400 yen for gloves and goggles and insurance for the ski equipment, plus however much you want to spend on drinks from vending machine and other food (in my case, 600 yen for 3 bottles of drinks from vending machine, and 625 more for food on before the bus return to Kyoto).
- Pack a DSLR, because everyone has them, just so you can say "Mau hunting foto dulu." and generally feel cooler. (Me? I didn't even bother to bring any camera at all). But handphone is OK to snap some decent pics for posterity's sake. Like below



- Either use your glasses or leave it in your bag. If you thought that you need perfect vision, you don't. And if you realized that only later, do not put your glasses inside your pocket. particularly if you're going to fall a lot and leave your glasses a mess like this:

- Refrain from the urge to bitchslap the person sitting next to you on the 11-hour bus ride because he is taking up a lot of space by refusing to put his backpack on the luggage and insisting on window seat and consequently awaken me on the aisle seat everytime he wanted to get out.
- Take into consideration that when you arrive back at the (Kyoto) station at 5am you might need to wait some time (30mins) before the first train is operational. all while enduring aches on your ass, arm, neck, leg, and back.

In my case, after finally aboard the local train to Obaku, I realized that it would be much more convenient if I used a taxi from Obaku to the International House. Trouble is: I have no idea how to spell my address in Japanese. And just my luck, as I exited the gate, the only taxi available was already got a passenger and seconds later speeding away.

Leaving me in the rain. Aching. With 1 kilometers to walk before I got to my room.