2020 Woke me up

Many would claim that 2020 was a horrible year, I personally know people who have every right to proclaim this, but I am not among them.

It definitely was not an easy year, I do have my own share of tears and fears, but for me to denounce 2020 as “the worst year ever (thus far)” would be a disservice to the real victims. People who lost their closest and dearest loved ones, those who lost their livelihoods, those who are forced to bear the risk of mortal danger for the sake of others, they are the ones who truly suffer throughout 2020. No, my 2020 was challenging, unpleasant, scary, and many other not-so-nice things, but I feel that the right to truly loathe 2020 should be reserved for people who suffered more than I did.

What did I do throughout 2020?

I stayed inside and made do with what I have. Call me privileged/lucky/blessed, and I will guiltily admit that yes, compared to most I have less grievances. Not to say that it was all smooth sailing throughout the year. Somehow I know just enough angels to keep me sane, fed, and paid. I learned to recognize the things that really matter and those that do not. And I also had the opportunity to have deep, long conversations with the one person who matter most to me, which is myself.

Between the pandemic, the issues brought to light at the global and national scale, and all the terrible incidents happening, I was forced to recognize that things are not okay. Modern humans, myself included, are so fragile, physically and mentally. Our structures and systems are flawed, a state that is preserved by the few who gain from those flaws. I’m baffled but I have to admit that most people do not understand how their actions can affect others. Everything is not okay, but okay at least now we know.

I was also forced to accept that I may have subconsciously been limiting my own potentials. Yes growth is scary and uncomfortable, but nothing like a global threat to hammer down the idea that I need to keep moving to avoid being trampled. I still do not plan to blindly move with the herd, but unless I position my footing strategically I will either be forced to follow or be used as leverage.

2020 is like an alarm that blares in a cold morning, forcing me to extract myself from the warmth and comfort of my bed.

WAKE UP, things are not okay, but we can make it better!”
“GET UP, don’t you realize how vulnerable you are?”

“RISE UP, helplessness is not a state you want to remain in.”

As usual I hit the snooze button, but then it keeps blaring, louder and louder, with each new disaster, with each passing month. Until I have no choice but to leave my cocoon of illusion and acknowledge that I have so many things to do and I can’t afford to stay in bed. After all, there’s a whole world of opportunities out there, waiting for me once we finally get a handle of things. So many things to fix, so many things to prepare.

… well if 2020 was a wake up call then I guess it’s time to finish my coffee and tackle my 2021 To-Do list.

There’s no guarantee that 2021 is going to be easier or better, but hey at least now I have a vague idea of what I’m supposed to do.


Ignorance IS, unfortunately, bliss

As I grow older I find it harder to deny the old adage that ignorance is bliss.

In general, I loath ignorant people, I try resist to myself from making assumption before acquiring a least some background information or data about something. But in some cases it’s better to look the other way, most of the time this is no easy feat for me, and ignore the fact that you actually know more than you wish you knew. Sleep would have been easier had I not know most of the things I know about the world.

I wish I didn’t know that global warming is happening

I wish I didn’t know that animals are going extinct

I wish I didn’t know that people are suffering because of the haze

I wish I didn’t know about the statistics about children on the streets whenever I drive pass them on the intersection

I wish I didn’t know about the troubles and illnesses of people I know, that way I can imagine that their life is perfect

I wish I didn’t know about the chemicals and toxins that surround me

I wish I didn’t know about my never-ending to-do list

I wish I didn’t know about all the microorganism living on my skins, cause that’s just creepy.

But alas I know, and I fall asleep anyways, after succumbing to exhaustion.

I wish I can go back in time and visit my former self, I’m gonna go up and tell her “Kid, sometimes it’s better not to know. Some images are better left blurry yet pretty without knowing all the details and background story of how that picture came to be.”

But past-me will probably start to observe and create hypothesis and will launch into a short research about people who suddenly got approached by someone who looks a lot like their mother saying cryptic messages, thus making her worry after knowing that she’ll grow up to be chubby and not as attractive as she thought she’d grow up to be.


The Blue Elephant That Eats Gold Coins

I have a piggy bank, well actually an Elephant Bank, that’s rather special.

You see, it only eats gold coins. Well, not real gold coins, but IDR 500 coins, which has a gold color.

Last weekend i was feeling rather curious, how much coins does it hold. So I put all the coins out

And I counted everything up

In total I have IDR 295,000.00 around USD 30.
I can use it to buy around 15 Big Macs in Jakarta.
But I don’t want Big Macs, I want to collect gold coins so that one day I can pretend I’m Scrooge McDuck. So I put all the coins back, and try to find some more “gold” coins.


lo tech graphical adventures

Do you remember Microsoft Paintbrush? The name reminds me of primary school, when we used to computer classes. Back then, paintbrush was one of my fave programs. Any kid would love to draw right?
With the evolution of the Microsoft Windows OS, Paintbrush matured and become Microsoft. I don’t really know the difference, it’s just there along with the package. I haven’t been using paint very much these past years. I’ve always been blessed with computers that has at least GIMP in it. Paint is so basic, even the drawing program on Microsoft Word is better in certain aspects.
Under certain circumstances, usually with no other choices left, I use Paint to make simple graphical edits, like cropping a screenshot. I’m bad at drawing so personally I prefer to draw using vector based programs like Illustrator or Freehand. Even if I had to draw using a pixel based program, I choose Photoshop, at least the layers and multiple undo will make the final product look prettier.
But a recent wave of retro drawing has infected several colleagues of mine. So out of curiosity I decided to jump into the time machine and try to make a decent drawing using Paint. Lemme tell you it’s hard! There are only around two or three undo steps available, so I have to be VERY careful. I keep trying to drag the screen using space bar, keep trying to zoom in and out using CTRL – and +. It was frustrating.
But I finally managed to produce an acceptable drawing. Okay to be honest there’s a possibility that I just pass it of as an acceptable drawing out of frustration. so here goes…

What do you think? Interested in taking a stroll down memory lane and draw your own lo-tech graphical adventure?

Vicious Jakarta part 1

“Ibukota lebih kejam daripada ibu tiri” roughly translated to “The capital (mother city) is more vicious than a step mother” is a phrase used sometimes jokingly describe Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia. To a certain extent, it’s true.

The big durian is not for the faint hearted, trust me. I learned that after being born and raised here for the last 26 years. Somebody attempted to abduct me when I was around 11, on my way home after school.

I’ve been through at least five pick-pocketing attempt, some guy might actually succeed, considering the fact that I lost my phone several months ago. I’ve been the subject of numerous con attempts, it’s amazing what stories people would make up in order to get some money from people on the streets.

Everyday you’ll witness at least one traffic accident, ranging from a simple dent caused by a motorbike who bumped you from behind to a bloody truck versus car collision causing pile ups. And not to mention the traffic jam caused by those incidents.

You see, Jakartans just love their drama, people would not hesitate to slow down or even stop their vehicle in order to watch a fight between uninsured drivers about who’s wrong in a crash. Or maybe to be part of spectators witnessing the bloody victim being evacuated from the wreck. Never mind the fact that they are selfishly blocking the road and that they can’t do a thing to help anyway.

Those are only traffic tales, the things you discuss with your friends when you got to the office or maybe at a cafe after work. When you’re stuck in traffic you might even decide to dial a number and start recalling about the crash to a friend.

Besides poor road management and Jakartans addiction to road-side drama, traffic jams are also caused by poor traffic ethics. Prepare to be part of a snaking traffic jam in the middle of the rain caused by motorcycle riders who decided to keep their selves dry by stopping under a tunnel, at the expense of other vehicles.

If you complain, they’ll just say “Easy for you to say, you’re sitting dry and comfortable in a car.” at that point I usually just keep my mouth shut. There’s no use pointing out to them that I drive without air conditioning and that half of my shirt is already drenched by rain coming from my half-opened window. My choices were getting drenched by the rain or to close the window and in a slightly suffocated state drive as my breath fogs up the glass from the inside.

Taking the public transportation is a fairy tale either, remember the pick pockets and con men I told you about? Yeah, they also operate on public transports, along with molesting freaks and other weirdos. But I’ll tell you all about them later, cause it’s time for me to get going before another traffic congestion starts, with all the demonstrations planned today.

Ah… demonstrations, it was once a democratic way to bring down a corrupt regime. Now it has become a way to bring down everybody’s mood. Who wouldn’t be upset to see that their trip to the office was obstructed by a group of clueless people carrying signs and giving speech. It’s not that I’m against free speech, I just prefer to hear them from people who actually know what they are talking about, not some group of paid slackers.


The Mini-Ubuntu leap of faith

This post is written on the netbook I bought three days ago after a series of events that made me realize that despite my home PC and Blackberry, i still needed a netbook. I must admit that the purchase was rather impulsive, despite the fact that I’ve contemplated buying a netbook for several months.

My PC was being repaired for the -nth time, and even though my thumb typing skills are more than adequate, I find it hard to write and edit articles on a Blackberry. It was fine for one or two online articles, but after four paragraphs my thumbs and eyes will start to complain. That and several other reasons.
So I set my budget, did a little browsing, and decided to go and buy an HP Mini 110-3014TU. I must admit that the main reason I choose that particular model is because of the price. My budget is IDR 3 million, and the Mini 110 is priced at IDR 2.780 million, at least that was the price listed on, a computer online store. Turns out, I only had to pay IDR 2.650 million for the Mini 110.
The netbook was sold sans OS, and although the seller was kind enough to offer me pirated windows, I declined. I can’t afford to buy the original Windows 7, the price starts at IDR 999,000 which is too much for me right now. I was planning to use the netbook to quench my curiosity for Linux.
I’ve been running a Knoppix live CD for sometime, and I find it rather interesting. But the OS I installed on my netbook is the Ubuntu Netbook Edition 10.10. Apparently, it was released at the binary date, October 10th, 2010.
Now I realize that I’m no computer whiz, not a weekend programer, not a tech geek. My degree is in English Teaching, not for IT. I’m just a girl who believes that Google will solve all my problems. So I bit the bullet and went ahead.
The absence of an optical drive made me decide to create a live, bootable USB drive. It was pretty simple, I just had to download the ISO image of the OS, and a nifty little downloadable software does all the work for me.
Then I plugged the USB drive in the netbook, and turned it on. Had to tinker with the BIOS a bit, telling it to boot from the USB. And voila, Ubuntu is displayed on the screen of my spanking new netbook. But it was still running from the live USB, not installed at the hard drive yet.
After doing some clicking and waiting, and retrying, I finally managed to install the OS. Then comes the learning part. I must admit that it was kind of a stupid move for me to install an OS I’m not familiar with on a netbook I’m not familiar with either.
I’m not familiar with the hardware, cause the instruction manual is provided on a CD. since the netbook itself lacks an optical drive, I guess I’ll have to wait till my PC is back from repairs. I’m not familiar with the OS, having spent most of my computer time with Windows. But hey, I’m feeling adventurous!
So this is the third day, and I’ve managed to do all the essential stuffs I needed to do. The netbook has delighted me so far. The OS had some glitches, but I decide that it was still an acceptable trade, knowing that I actually can function and do all my online and offline needs without having to use pirated software or draining my account.
I must admit that this overall move is a series of leaps of faiths, faith in myself at some part. I still have to pay for the installments, and I’m also determined to make good use of this netbook. One of it is a promise to write more often. Let’s see if this is a promise I can stick with.
this post was written on an HP Mini 110-3014TU running on Ubuntu Netbook Edition 10.10.

Change your view, switch your lens.

Today, I bought myself an adapter to attach a diana lomo lens to my DSLR, along with a diana fisheye.

The result of the pictures weren’t really that special, since the lens were designed to be used on a camera that’s extremely different with my Nadezhda (that’s what I named my DSLR). You can’t really see the fisheye effect except for several special conditions.

However, I decided to try and emulate the images produced by lomographic Cameras. So I played around with the picture styles, Experimented with the custom white balance, and the simplicity of the lens also limited me from doing things that I normally do with a standard lens.

So I snapped away. Having and adventure behind the lens, shooting from the hip, without thinking as lomographers usually do. And then I got home and checked the results.

Some of the pictures came out pretty nice, but most of them are blurry, with weird colors, shaky, and suffering from other kinds imperfections.

My usual style of photography is sharp, natural, realistic, with bold and contrasting colors. I had to constantly remind myself not to scold myself for taking those fuzzy pictures with funky colors.

In retrospect I realized that the lens had prompted me to break out from my habits, venture outside of my comfort zone. I really enjoyed the pictures that turned out alright, and honestly I’m planning to shoot that way more often, though I’m not planning on abandoning my original style. The way I see it, fooling around and experimenting might actually expand my skill and my style.

It’s funny to think that just by switching a lens and surrendering to the demands of exploration I’ve managed to unlock a new dimension. I’d like to think that a similar analogy could also be applied in my quest for personal development. By switching my lens (paradigm) and playing along with the role, i just might expand my own abilities. Worth a try don’t you think?

Posted via email from indieraw’s posterous