Monday, March 26, 2012

Writing Challenge: Dare Me!


I have been told that one way to broaden my horizons in writing and increase knowledge in general is to write about just about anything and try to make it work. Make it interesting with the power of words. Jumbling up those morphemes can make any topic seem interesting – plus a creative perspective, of course. So, I need your help. Help me increase my capability in writing by requesting a topic – any topic. I will try to write an interesting and informative post about your topic. It can be anything you want (by reasonable standards, nothing offensive or improper, guys) from girls, fashion, and food to strange and unusual things like aliens, monsters, and… I dunno, door knobs, maybe (it was the first thing that crossed my mind for some reason). Or maybe you want a love poem or a short story. I can’t promise that it would be good, but give me constructive feedback (be nice, please, LOL) so I may develop my style and become better at writing.

Dare me to write and please help me improve my skills, guys! I will label it “writing challenge” and do around 2-3 posts about it a week. Tell me your dare by commenting under this post or on my cbox widget.

I look forward to your requests, guys! Thanks in advance!

Exam Week Dilemma: What’s wrong with my brain?

It’s a little bit difficult to find enough time to write satisfactory posts this week. I have to follow the mid-term exams. They are actually the first exams I have had in a long time, almost a year. So, ironically, I am looking forward to them (I’m such a nerd sometimes).

However, I have encountered a frightening obstacle. Have you ever felt like your studying capabilities are deteriorating? Well, I have gradually felt it. I can’t study as fast as I used to (I don’t study that fast anyway so that is surely saying something). Last night I took 3 hours to finish reading 13 pages of Communication Theory. Each page had 6 slides on it. There wasn’t much text to read, on average about 10 lines per slide in big fonts, even though there were 78 slides in total. And it is communication theory. I mean, the language is not advanced science or something. It’s about stuff we relate to everyday. But that isn’t the point. The point is, it’s the point where I feel that my learning abilities are decreasing and I’m only in my twenties. Aaaargh! Sometimes it’s like my brain is so frozen that it cannot grasp simple concepts.


It’s scary. It suddenly dawns on me MORE that I’m getting old. Laughs.

However, it’s not the end of the world, folks. Those who have experienced it should not be discouraged. It just means you have to make more of an effort to study. You have to try harder than usual and that isn’t exactly a bad thing. Besides, there is hope to get your abilities back. I heard that you can not only get back your ability, but also increase it. Try Lumosity Brain Games & Brain Training to boost your brain’s potential. I’ve subscribed to the free program. It’s very helpful and, most importantly, fun.

Education is a privilege for all ages. Learning is limitless.

Keep spirited!

Friday, March 23, 2012

It’s Friday, Friday…

Right now the phenomenal Friday song by Rebecca Black is replaying in my head. As most youtube addicts know, it’s a song about “getting down on friday” and how ”everybody’s looking forward to the weekend”. The rest of the lyrics are just about hanging out with friends and “partyin’, partyin’, yeah!”. You get the point.

While my friends are probably out tonight having a date with their boyfriend/girlfriend, or hanging out with their friends, or having dinner with their family, or stuck with work at the office, or planning some great event at campus… I am alone in my dorm room without any plans for anything, not doing anything.

Well, to be fair, I had been doing some things today. I was rather productive – when I was awake. I woke up at 1.30 pm all groggy and zombie-like because I hadn’t slept at all the last three nights and I could only fall asleep at around 7.30 am. Then I went online to check my emails, facebook messages, and chats to see if anyone had said hi (it’s not as pathetic as it sounds). Then I took a shower for about 20 minutes, meaning to drive away the zombie-like feeling. It worked. However, I had to bear with sneezing for the rest of the day.

A few hours later, I went to the ATM centre to get some cash and transfer some money. After that, I did my monthly shopping at a local minimarket (I love doing my monthly shopping. I could spend hours choosing what to buy and not to buy and reconsidering and comparing prices etc. Hahaha…). Then I finally got my lunch at 4.30 pm. I ate my food while watching an episode of One Litre of Tears. I always cry when I watch it, no matter how many times I’ve watched it. Come to think of it, it must be comical to catch sight of me eating my rice, fish, and vegetable soup with tears streaming down my face (laughs). I’m glad I was alone in my room.

After I ate, I did my laundry. I love doing my laundry at my new dorm because we have a washing machine! You may not know how much that means to me. You see, I used to enjoy doing my laundry by hand until my hands got so sensitive that they blistered and bled afterwards. I tried switching detergents but there was not much difference. Anyway, having a washing machine is such a blessing. I don’t like having to use a laundry service all the time.

After I finished doing my laundry, I went online again and chatted with my friends on skype. I even got a call from my friend online and we spent about half an hour talking about school and our club and stuff. Then… here I am writing a post on my blog about my day.

I’m not saying it’s a bad day. It was an average day. I just wish I could hang out. I want to go see the highly anticipated Hunger Games movie with a friend. I want to eat my favorite food at Bebek Goreng Haji Slamet. I want to go out…

Haha… I am so whiny. Sorry guys.

Oh well, maybe next week. I have an exam in a few days anyway. In the meantime, I’ll entertain myself by listening to Rebecca Black.

“Friday, Friday, gotta get down on Friday

Everybody’s lookin’ forward to the weekend, weekend

Friday, Friday, gettin’ down on Friday

Everybody’s lookin’ forward to the weekend

Partyin’, partyin’, yeah!

Partyin’, partyin’, yeah!

Fun, fun, fun, fun,

Lookin’ forward to the weekend.”


I’ve lost my marbles.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Violets are Blue…

I am writing this post after witnessing my stats shoot up in the last 12 hours. I got more than 100 views today! Yaaaaaaay!! I resolve to be more productive and write consistently. I have plenty of things to write about anyway and I actually had trouble choosing what I wanted to write about because of that. Go figure.

Well, I decided to write about my discovery today as I was hanging out with my friend in my room, brainstorming for another blog (yes, I am working on another site even if I have two active ones already and I don’t know if I can manage them all). Predictably, we got stuck on the name of the blog. How could we find a name that was cool, simple, memorable, and most importantly NOT TAKEN?

Some of the alternatives for the name of the blog were names of flowers. Since it was going to be a girl’s blog, we thought that we might consider this feminine object. We stumbled upon the violet and found some pretty interesting information about it. Now it is a likely candidate for our blog.

After my friend went away, I still browsed for more information about violets while the pre-school nursery rhyme replayed in my head:

“roses are red, violets are blue, honey is sweet, and so are you”

I still can’t get it out of my head (laughs). The point of mentioning this rhyme here is that I had thought that violets were supposed to be blue and I was never really sure how they looked like until I did this research.

Here are some interesting facts about this flower:

  • Violets have five fan-shaped petals and scalloped heart-shaped leaves. They are usually purple with a hint of blue, but some are yellow, white, or cream.
  • The Greek word for violets is “Io” which is also the name of Zeus’ sweetheart. It is said that he had turned Io into a heifer to keep her a secret from Hera. He created the flowers for her culinary needs.
  • Da Vinci is said to have depicted violets in his painting entitled “Madonna Benois”, investing the flower with a meaning of humility. Giovanni Paolo did just about the same thing in his painting entitled “Madonna of Humility”.
  • Frederic Chopin inspired himself in his works from the land of flowers and of course he did not ignore violets in his artistic endeavors
  • Napoleon Bonaparte used to send Josephine, his wife, a bouquet of violets on every wedding anniversary.
  • The petals and leaves are edible. They are frequently used in salads, desserts, and other light dishes.

african violet cake

  • They are frequently used in perfumes, and their scent is sometimes made use of in aromatherapy to treat eczema and calm the nerves.
  • The sweet violet is the only flower in its family to have medicinal properties. It can be placed into syrups, creams or teas to help treat coughs, colds and lung disorders; it can help to treat insomnia, skin conditions and digestive upsets.


  • The ancient Greeks used violets as a main ingredient in some love potions, as it was the symbol of love and fertility.
  • Violets have a dual meaning. They are thought to be a symbol of peace, spirituality and imagination; at the same time it is a symbol for mourning and sadness. They can be given to encourage the recipient’s creative endeavors, or to show respect for the dead. Other sources say that violets also speak of faithfulness, commitment, candor, and modesty.

I also found the French word for “violet” in my Encarta Dictionary. Interestingly, the color “violet” is a masculine object and the flower “violette” is a feminine object. What this means is that “violet” needs the article “un” and “violette” needs the article “une”…

I’m getting ahead of myself, I’m sorry. The mid-semester exams are nearing and I have all these facts about different subjects in my head and one of them is French Language and it sure is challenging to learn.

Anyway, I fell in love with this flower because of its history and usefulness. Its color is also a combination of my favorite colors: purple and blue (and people know I am crazy about green too which is, you know… the leaves, LOL). Sigh. It’s so beautiful.

I know what I want for my birthday: a potted plant! And the plant has to be the violet!

Disclaimer: The statement directly above is a complementary addition for this blog post. This is not a hidden request for readers who happen to be family or close friends who are reading this. I withdraw myself from the responsibility of causing any consequential events that may take place subsequently.




*informative articles about violets that I used for this site:

Why I Chose English Literature: Clarification and Confession

I have been getting a lot of questions, reprimands, and objections about my choice to study English Literature a few months ago. I plan to answer it holistically here, in this post, honestly and firmly. Brace yourselves…

Wait a minute… before I get to that, I might as well explain why I am here when I was supposed to – or rather expected to – be somewhere else. Then I would get to the choices that made me be here and stop being there… I am not making any sense, it seems. Let’s take another step back.

I am a STAN (State College of Accounting) graduate. My placement after graduation was the tax department.

I should’ve been content and happy, right? Good school, satisfactory scores, placement favored by the majority, high salary… It all hypothetically equals to a stable and assured living.

Now let’s revert back to my post called Confessions of a 22-Year-Old. In writing I complained about how I was feeling at that moment which was mainly dissatisfaction of my choices and current occupation. I had my personal reasons concerning my beliefs and principles. I had a decided my stance. Nevertheless, I tried to be satisfied and hold on to the status quo. I finished it with a cliché conclusion and tried to get my composure back.

So did it work?

After a few months, I decided to quit. Kind of contrary, huh? It was shocking news for many people around me, particularly my parents. However, I had thought about it for a while – maybe even years. I just didn’t have the guts to do it. Well, it’s now or never, they say.

Quitting wasn’t easy. At that time, I wasn’t in a good state both physically and mentally. I had undergone a series of illnesses (stomach cramp, vertigo, skin rash, typhus) because of fatigue and unhealthy lifestyle (I was kind of a slob sometimes). Meanwhile, I was weak mentally due to stress and emotions all jumbled up together and emphasized significantly by the medicine I had to consume for my headaches. How? I found out later that some of the meds had side effects like moodiness and depression. I had been taking those pills for months in plentiful doses. Still, I do wonder: was it really the pills messing up my head with an overdose of hysteria. Maybe it was just me, No?

Anyway, my illness plus my emotional behavior didn’t make up the properties of a good civil servant. I had too many absences. Some were explainable (doctor’s note), some weren’t. I have forgotten some of those moments. Was I even sober at those moments?

I swear to God I didn’t take illegal drugs or drink alcohol – don’t worry.^-^ It wasn’t that kind of not-sober.

The nights were the worst part of the day. I was tired and weak so the mood swings took their toll. I was a pathetic spectacle drenched in hysteria.

The mornings were better. Logic and reason regained their place. I shouldn’t have been too keen on quitting, should I?

It was the opposite.

So I told my boss I wanted out. I considered opting for another institution but it wasn’t possible. So you could also say I was deactivated because of my absences. The process was not pleasant but in the end we understood each other. Many thanks to all the officials and colleagues involved who have made it possible. It ended well. Praise Allah.

End of story.

Next story: why did I choose English Literature?

My friends say that I don’t need to study it. After all, I have lived abroad for quite a while so I am half native. Wouldn’t it have been better to continue on with accounting? You can learn English on the way; it doesn’t have to be a major.

My dear friends,

I do respect for you care and good intentions, but I will firmly state that I want to do this. I want to pursue this because it is my passion. It will take me to the profession I have always wanted.

I have always loved learning English, maybe because most of my primary years were spent learning and practicing it. The first novel I read was in English. My diary was written in English. The first short story I wrote was in English. My first love poem was in English.

Language enthralls, invigorates, and sustains me. It fascinates me in a way that makes me hungry for more. The prospect of studying it, digging into it, and researching it makes my heart beat faster with excitement and puts a wide smile on my face. The experience is unlike that of any subject I have ever had to learn.

Why not Indonesian? Forgive me; I am not forgetting my roots. I like Indonesian language too. But it is not the language I grew up with in the first fundamental years of my life. It doesn’t have the same deep impact. It didn’t shape me to be the way I am now.

When I go to sleep, I can’t help that the thoughts that stream through my mind are in English. When I pray to Allah, I can’t help that it feels easier to communicate in English. When I have a heart-to-heart with my best friend, I can’t help that I feel I am more expressive when I talk in English.

So it is a passion and an instinctive preference. I cannot substitute it for something else.

But how about practicality? How about rationality?

It is not like I haven’t thought of that. It is not like I haven’t had signals of regret for letting go of my job, surrendering my income, and seemingly abandoning years of study to go to waste. It’s not like I won’t use my accounting diploma. Hey, I got a pretty good score and I wasn’t bad at it. I will use that for the opportunities I choose. But I won’t do tax no more. Nope (hehe).

However, waiting for the diploma to get in my hands involves a long line of bureaucracy. It is inevitable. So, why be idle? That is why I enrolled myself at a college in Yogyakarta (where I am now). I chose English Literature just because it is what I really, really wanted to learn. For this once, I wanted to be true to myself and make an honest choice. I wanted to do this for myself. No more regrets.

So why not guys?

In this world, often there is no room for the kind of passion I have for language. Passion is sometimes unpractical. Passion is frequently selfish. I know and I have accepted those labels.

Yes, maybe I am unemployed now because of my choices. Maybe I cannot give my family everything I wished to provide them with right now. Maybe I have caused a lot of trouble and pain and disappointment for a lot of people.

But this is my life. I will make my own choices and be true to them. I have my own personal principles that I will try to maintain. And I will manifest all of them into something wonderful, something that I am sure of and comfortable with. It’s something that was and has always been my dreams and ambition. I was just too late to realize it. Better late than never.

It doesn’t mean that I can’t use my dreams to reach other primary goals, such as providing for myself and my family. I can’t do it optimally right now, but I will soon, in due time. I pray that Allah will grant me that time.

I haven’t explained everything in this post, I know. I don’t think I ever could in just a night. However, I hope the main idea is clear. I have my principles and beliefs and decided to be consistent with them. The events following that decision subsequently lead me to the opportunity of going to school again and following my passion.

My dear friends and family (especially my family),

I don’t expect you to agree with all of my reasonings. I wrote them here because I feel that you deserve to know what I think and how it leads to my choices.

I realize that I am far from perfect, though I have strived to be, in trying to fulfill others expectations of me and agreeing to others’ choices and preferences of what is good for me – even when I wasn’t sure that it was what I wanted. I just wanted you to be proud of me

So I make mistakes. I stumble here and there. I sometimes fall repeatedly in the same hole. I just hope you will be there to pull me back up to the higher ground.

I am not a child or a teenager anymore. I am not a grown up either. I am still growing, so let me grow. Let me grow my leaves and branches wherever I please. Just help me grow in the direction of the sun.

I hope that you will keep having faith in me. I have gained enough wisdom to realize that the world is too big to face on our own. The roads are too complicated. To make matters worse, I can’t drive or read maps properly at the moment (what?).

Finally, I will end this long-and-exhausting-to-read post (surely not?) by emphasizing that your support, kind words, and presence means the world to me. I can never thank you enough. I can only pray that Allah blesses your life with happiness in this world and the hereafter. Love you all…


P.S. The video below does not have any direct connection with the post, but the singer, who is also the song writer, is really inspiring. He is amazing. The words in his song, plus his life story has given me motivation. Check out his first appeance here on youtube. Below is his single on ChrisReneVEVO.

Hey, young homie what you tripping on

Looking at life, like how did I get it wrong,

Life's too short, gotta live it long,

To my brothers and sisters when will we get along…

(Young Homie, Chris Rene)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

5000 Views! Finaly…

After about two years of moody and inconsistent blogging, I have finaly reached 5000 views, 2000 of which were accomplished during the last 5 months (which is when I started paying attention to the views and added the stats widget). Hurray for me!

I have made myself a target to reach 10000 by the end of this year, at most. I hope that by then I will be making better posts regularly and consistently. I don’t want this resolution to turn into another of my short-lived resolutions. Those resolutions usually start with a fiery blaze and end abruptly with a feeble spark. All that is left is the ashes of spirit to plague me with the memory (LOL).

Anyway, thanks a lot for all of you who have spared your time to check out my blog. I hope you continue to visit!


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Editing Photos

I am not that good at editing photos. All I can say is that I CAN do it and I guess that is already something ;). Anyway, I wanted to write a post about the photos I had edited last night. However, I have already written about it in my other blog,
la galerie, so It seems redundant and pointless to write about it again here when I can just copy paste the link here. So that is exactly what I am going to do. (Laughs)

The new post is called Editing Photos with Photoscape. Do check it out if you’re interested. I have written a bit about using Photoscape and inserted a few pictures which were the result of my experiments last night. They aren’t as good as I wanted them to be (or rather, imagined them to be), but satisfactory for me, nonetheless.

I used the pictures for my profile pictures on facebook, twitter, and skype.I was bored with my old profile pictures. I wanted something more personal and artistic. There’s no doubt that I might get bored with them in about a month though. I wonder if the hours at night were worth it…

All in all, editing last night was fun and I learnt plenty. Try out Photoscape for yourself!


Sunday, March 4, 2012

Mom’s Food Corner : Pelecing

The name of this next dish may be strange for you. It is called “pelecing”; a unique dish from the island of Lombok. Basically, it is boiled vegetables (spinach, bean sprouts, long beans) grated coconut mixed together with a special spicy sauce and a few drops of lime juice. The main ingredients for the sauce are chili, peanuts, “terasi (shrimp paste), and tomatoes. Some people don’t use the peanuts and the coconut. I don’t mind either version.

Anyway, I am posting a picture of it with some other dishes below. Mom had made a really special lunch at the time this picture was taken so I couldn’t resist combining them all into one picture.


You can see all the cooked vegetables on the top-right side of the picture. The sauce is directly below it. On the top-left corner there’s some fried “tempe” (food made out of fermented soybeans) and tofu. Below it is “ikan pindang” which is basically a type of fish soup which uses turmeric as its main flavoring, combined with supporting ingredients such as chili and lemongrass.


I miss Mom’s food… This picture is making me so hungry.

See you in the next post!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Browsing Paradise

I have been browsing for hours and hours, really cherishing the fast internet connection at my new place. I started off by just checking my emails. Finally, I can use the standard view instead of the boring html view. The world is such a better place.

Then, I tested more of my luck by checking out my facebook which has been neglected for a long time. Now I can check out all the photos, notes, and profiles as much as I please without having to silently curse at the browser. So you can trust me on being more “sociable” now (what?).

I tested more of my luck again with You Tube. I typed the address and… I rejoiced. Streaming was a breeze. I cruised through the world of internet entertainment without any obstacles. I was surfing in heaven.

surfing the web

This is all thanks to Speedy that was recently installed by the owners of my place. All of us here get to use it FOR FREE. I love that word, “free”. (Laughs)

Anyway, in the end I have been using up my time checking out the videos from my You Tube subscription updates.  I have subscribed to a lot of channels. I have the talented Christina Grimmie, the awesome The Piano Guys, the incredible Lindsey Stirling, and the fascinating Harvard site. I recommend all of these channels to all of you.

After that, I continued my habit of checking out new songs and new artists in the music industry. I found this cool new artist called Kimbra. I checked out one of her songs entittled “Call Me”. It’s really something. Then I cried over some touching Britain’s Got Talent auditions. I really have a soft spot for sad and soppy stories with happy outcomes. If you are something like me, click on the link now. Winking smile

I don’t remember everything I did on the internet, but I came across the James Morrison song I had been searching for: Undiscovered. I came across that song when I was watching a movie weeks ago. I loved it. I didn’t have a good internet connection at that time, so I asked my friend to look it up for me. He couldn’t find it though, mainly because there have been a lot of downloading sites aren’t so friendly anymore. I got to prove it this evening. All of the sites I had looked up confronted me bluntly about piracy (darn).

However, as usual, I got my way again. At least I got the song, all thanks to the You Tube FLVTO. I looked up the song on You Tube and just converted it to mp3. Piece of cake. If you want a slice of my treat, just click the link directly above.

Anyway, I had a blast tonight, watching videos and sharing them on facebook without haste. I have shared so many links that I may have spammed my friends’ pages. Sorry guys! It’s not my fault my internet connection rocks (laughs). Just kidding. Winking smile

Good night, everyone!