A plus or a minus makes it even or odd

“We seem to be made to suffer. It’s our lot in life,” C3PO (Star Wars IV: A New Hope).

I often ask, how some people can be much luckier than the others. They can enjoy living in a penthouse and drive a Bugatti Veyron; they shine and dine so fine and live like kings or queens. They can be in Vienna in the morning, enjoying Apfelstrudel and a cup of melange. In the afternoon, they may be at the Riviera Country Club, California, playing golf in the US’ 5th top golf course. And in the evening, after a two-hundred-and-sixty-dollar dinner, they might be at Kabuki-Za Theater in Tokyo, watching Kenuki. Later that night, they are in the first class cabin of Japan Airlines on the way back to their residence.

Meanwhile, in some other parts of the world, people are suffering, dying and fleeing from a civil war or religious conflict or political persecution or natural disasters. Some are worried about what they’re going to eat for the next day; some others think about their children’s future, thanks to the war (Does the future even exist?). There are those who are busy looking for a shelter to protect themselves from the wilderness of nature, like rain or thunderstorm, or from another human. Their only shelter, which is never like a penthouse, has to be abandoned. They are left with nothing but hopelessness.

To quote Anakin (Skywalker) from Star Wars I: The Phantom Menace, “The biggest problem in this universe is nobody helps each other.”

“Time you started thinking
And don’t just sweeten up the taste
Brother shoots brother
But meanwhile you’re fixing up your face,” Imbruglia (Don’t you think?).

4 November 2008 at 04:44

To all my Dulcinea

Maybe I should be ashamed of myself or of you (for posting this), but…ah! Unrequited love―a bittersweet delicacy, like dark chocolate. It has inspired a lot of great writers, including Shakespeare and Goethe. And, here’s a poem from Abraham Cowley, “But of all pains, the greatest pain/It is to love, but love in vain.” Well, I guess all girls (women) are my Dulcinea.

Several months ago, I wrote:
“I am giving myself false hopes,
but I cannot resist
your beauty, your smile.
I dare not reach you.”

Love…sorrow…chagrin!

“Is love a tender thing? it is too rough,
too rude, too boisterous, and it pricks like thorn,”
Romeo and Juliet.

At least to me, all girls (women) are my Dulcinea. Isn’t love sweet?

2 November 2008 at 20:00

Thoughts

MYOB

I always wonder why some people won’t mind their own business. They like to interfere in other people’s life, although it is not a nuisance to them or to other people. They enjoy criticizing, being sarcastic or giving innuendos that say that some people are “too nerdy, geeky or sophisticated.” Again I wonder, why should it be their concern if some people enjoy deep conversations?

Roller coaster

Being in love is like being on a roller coaster, and hearing something that you don’t want to hear is the same thing. Some people love to hear what they want hear, and I admit, I like that too. However, there are times when I don’t enjoy it.

These days, I’ve been hearing things that I don’t want to hear. I can have a mental breakdown right now, but I’ve been trying to get tough in this rough situation. Isn’t that what will make us a man? I know that some of us are never ready for the worse, but, given that I was a pessimist, I’m always ready for it. So, when I hear things that I don’t want to hear, I never feel like I want to skedaddle or, worse, commit… (Better not say it).

There’s a phrase “Don’t count the chickens before they hatch,” but I like to do that in the worse case scenario. I like to ask myself, “What if this happens…? And then I won’t be… If that happens, then that will also happen. In that case, this won’t result in that. So, this will just be…” Even so, there is still a part of me that always thinks positively. It gives me control and the will to live; after all, “Tomorrow is another day.”

My father has always told me not to give up easily. In life, we will always get through some problems, so get a grip! “Things happen for a reason,” he said.

Childhood

I don’t know if it happens to everyone, but when I was little, I used to “believe” that the world was flat. However, the world that I envisioned did not cover a lot of “strange” places. It covered only as far as a city called Jatinegara, a city in East Jakarta, from my home in Pondok Bambu, which was the other side of the world. It made “perfect” sense, because Jatinegara lies in the west and Pondok Bambu is in the east.

I often heard the name of the city, Jatinegara, because my father used to mention it over and over, considering he shopped there for his tailoring supplies. So, I figured, because I never heard him mention any other name, Jatinegara was the edge of the “world” that I envisioned. I never thought about the sun, the clouds, the night sky, the stars and the moon, because it seemed like the city, Jatinegara, was what mattered to our family.

I still remember clearly when I had that thought. I was three years old then. I remember, I was in front of our house while on my may way to our neighbor’s. However, my vision about that “flat” world didn’t just end there. I had it for a while, but, maybe because I was three, I never bothered to ask my parents about it.

Wired civilization

Somehow now, because of technology, the world is neither flat nor round. The world is like a cotton wire roll. We, humans, are kittens, entangled and trapped. Some are strangled and “died” through time. We just don’t know what is right or wrong anymore, because, my friend, in this wired world, there is no law. We’re free to do whatever we want.

The human race is not getting better. In terms of technology, we are much better than our ancestors, but in terms of morality, who is much better than the other?

It’s not for me to judge, but, I think, technology is making us humans more arrogant. I’m all for technology, by the way, but the arrogance? We’re committing suicide little by little.

3 October 2008 at 03:30

RTFM

The title sounds rude, but I don’t intend it that way. I’m sorry.

You know, I miss drinking jasmine tea because that’s the kind of tea that I drank in my hometown. So, I went to an Asian store last week and I was happy when I found jasmine tea. I bought it and made a cup of jasmine tea this morning. It was great, great, and great, but too bad that I didn’t have a lot of time to enjoy the tea. I was late for class, so I had to hurry.

The funny thing about the tea is that it comes with a manual. It’s not that I don’t know how to make a cup of tea (That doesn’t come in a bag), but I read the manual (As if I never made a cup of tea before) out of curiosity. Hah! That manual really surprised me. It’s like, “RTFM before you treat yourself with a cup of jasmine tea. We just wanna make sure that your tea is as delicious as the smell.” It even has a smell!

I know I am being a jerk (Here). I am sarcastic and why do I even bother writing this kind of note? Well, I haven’t written anything these days, because I have made myself not to do a lot of thinking. It gets tiring and boring sometimes (But I have been thinking about someone, mind you, and it is not tiring and boring at all). Although I know that there is no potential future, given that gravity does not interfere in our acquaintanceship, I do it anyway, because she is attractive (It’s N). There, I said it!

When it comes to (Cupid or whatever related to Eros) relationship, I am never an expert. As we all know, Newton’s third law of motion states that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Somehow, that law doesn’t work for me. I have tested it, but there is never an equal and opposite reaction. Well, I mistake a feeling with an action and I guess that’s where my ‘experiment’ fails.

Speaking of manual, I wish there were a manual for a “strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties.” Frankly, I have read some literature about Cupid or whatever related to Eros relationship, but none of the tips work. I have also talked to some friends about it, and nothing works. Is there something wrong with the manual? Or, maybe it is me that is…You have to know that I am a pariah and it is never easy to know what the opposite sex wants.

It’s true, Eros != programming.

2 June 2008 at 22:07

Phone Calls

At least to me, the telephone is something new. I was exposed to that technology when I was 16 or 17, because I lived in a small town in my home country. We did not have access to it considering our town was “underdeveloped” and most of the people did not need a telephone to deliver their message. If we had something urgent to talk about with our relatives in another part of the island, we went to their house at the very same day. Of course, it was not convenient since the transport system, as well as the infrastructure and the distance, did not help us much to convey the message quickly.

I do not remember when I first used a telephone, but I thought it was something amazing when I first used it, because I can hear my friend or relatives’ voice from the device, although they live in another part of the island. Far before I used the technology, however, I have learned the technicalities of how a telephone works, but my knowledge about the technology was limited only to the science behind it.

It was a good news to us when the national telephone company expanded its network to our area. Soon enough, almost everyone in the neighborhood installed a telephone, and it felt like an exciting feeling to most families when their telephone rang. It was like a call from “Heaven” and they were proud to have it, because it showed the community that they were well off. Before it entered our area, a telephone was considered as a luxury, because it could reach only the middle and the higher class. Everything changed when it became part of our town considering the lower class could finally “chip in” to the development of the country in general.

Now, almost everyone uses a telephone, land line or cell phone, to communicate with their friends and loved ones, but I personally dislike it. I had my first cell phone almost two years ago, but I have disliked it even before I had one. I cannot stand the tone or the vibration, because it always bothers me, especially when I’m in the middle of a lecture or Jum’ah, Friday prayer*.

It is true that emergency or urgent issues come when they are not expected, but I often wonder why we cannot turn off or set our cell phone to silent when we know that we will spend about two hours for the lecture or Jum’ah. It always bothers me when the lecture or Jum’ah is interrupted by someone’s cell phone. I don’t know if I have to “show” sympathy if the call is a bad news, like “I call you to let you know that I want to break up with you,” but if it is a call like “Sorry I cannot go shopping with you today,” I am irritated, but I would rather not say anything about it.

Honestly, I am scared of phone calls, because you never know what kind of news you are going to hear. If it is a good news, it is no problem, but if it’s the opposite, I’ll probably say, “Don’t even bother calling me for a bad news.” Every time the telephone rings in my room, my hearts pounds. My mind is filled with questions, “Maybe it is from the Embassy; maybe it is from my family who wants to tell me some bad news; maybe it is from so and so,” and I feel relieved when I find out that it is not a bad news.

You just never know when that call comes to your life, but I’m prepared for the worst.

Footnote

* Salaatul Jum’ah is the weekly congregational prayer offered on Friday at the time of Zuhr, the prayer after midday (but before the shadow of the sun becomes twice its length from midday). Jum’ah substitutes for Zuhr prayer when said in a congregation. The Qur’an has enjoined the Muslims to observe Jum’ah services regularly in groups: “O believers, when the call is given for the Friday prayer, hasten to the remembrance of Allah and leave your trading, this is best for you, if you but know it.” (Al-Quran, 62:9).

17 April 2008 at 13:19

Bittersweet City

I went to the city today, for a reason that I do not have the liberty to say. I walked along Salzach and my brain played the song “It Might Be You” by Stephen Bishop, while thinking about a particular person. However, my mind was haunted by fear, problems and worries about everything related to the future, but I was happier this time, because, although I was obsessed with negative thoughts, my brain did not force me to be compulsive. The kind of behavior that usually makes me do repetitive things, like the need to do anything symmetrically.

That is a perfect match. I am obsessed with a “perfect” and “exact” life, and my compulsive behavior is the need for symmetry and total order around me. Yet, whatever happened today, the thought about the particular person, canceled out my compulsive behavior, even though my mind was preoccupied with negative feelings and thoughts about things that will not run perfectly. Somehow, I thought that everything will be perfect, if I am with her. We never know.

I have been asking myself, why I should go back to the city, Salzburg, but this is the destiny that I must follow. A year ago, I thought I would be happy if I lived here, but everything is totally the opposite now. To some degree, I am happy being in Salzburg, because I get to know some people and a particular person, with whom I can share my “craziness.” However, there is bitterness being in the city. Some of the locals are intricate and are not easy to predict. These are the kinds of behavior that will surprise you out of the blue.

I wish I could care less about this, but I become uncomfortable whenever I go to the city. It is difficult for me to look at them, the locals, in the eyes, because they may think I am suspicious or malicious, while I actually want to be friendly without having to smile and say, “Hi! I am a nice person. You can trust me and would you like to be my friend?” They are actually smiley, but, some of them have the kind of smile that are, sorry to say, insincere and cold. This is not good for me, because they make me lose the equilibrium in my brain. They add the imperfection, which causes negative “obsessions” in my gray matter, and my sanity will always be preoccupied with anything symmetrical as a “catharsis.”

I have to end this but the particular person has helped me in overcoming my compulsive behavior whenever my brain is busy with obsessive thoughts or impulses.

I am just wondering if she will be the sun that will shine my life eternally or the rainbow with its beautiful colors that will stay in my life only for a while. Maybe I am too quick to decide. All I need is time.

16 April 2008 at 02:19

Dreams (Part I)

“She laughs at my dreams, but I dream about her laughter.” It is just some quote, but I am talking about “dreams” when you sleep. I am just wondering if you can ever remember your dream. I have always tried to recall my dreams when I wake up, but I can never remember much, except when I dream about “the one.” When she comes to my dreams, it is always so vivid although I can never see her face or hear her voice, but it is always just a dream. Too bad!

It is said that we are in a deep sleep if we can remember our dream (This happens during REM lasting about 90 to 120 minutes), and we should be happy if we can have about four to five periods of REMs, because that is about average for adults, which is about 20-25% of total sleep. New born babies, however, can have about 80% of total sleep (I miss those days).

My theory is, babies sleep with both eyes closed, but adults with both eyes open (Teenagers? Think about it). We can rarely have a good night sleep because of a lot of reasons. Some have problems with the bed; some have problems with the bugs; some have problems with the neighbors (In a “specific” issue, of course); some are insomniac; but the rest have a lot of problems in life. Some have a nightmare, which I believe, is a reflection of our worries or fear, but some others don’t have a nightmare. I’d like to be the second one but how can we control our dream? Or, how can we control our subconscious feeling?

Yesterday morning, I had several unpleasant dreams, but it was “stale” dreams, as people in my home country call them, because they happen after 2 AM. I woke up at about 5:50 in the morning for morning prayer, but, as soon as I finished, I went back to sleep. So, the dreams came.

One dream “put” me in an elevator. It went down rapidly and shook violently. I screamed, “God, help me!” Then it stopped. Soon, some guys, out of nowhere, kicked me out of the “train,” instead of an “elevator” and there were a few zombies who tried to catch me. I climbed back to the wagon, but the guys inside still pushed me to stay outside. The dream was over. I really find it funny, how dreams work. You are in the middle of something, but suddenly you are in a different situation. Somehow, your “first” dream is still connected to the “second” dream.

I wonder how long my unpleasant dream lasted, but have you ever noticed that when you dream, the “time” is actually longer than the actual time? You think you have slept for about five hours, but you actually haven’t slept that long.

You may disagree with me, but when you sleep, your soul actually leaves your body, but then it returns back to your body when you wake up. So, our body is pretty much like a ‘case mod’ in computer term, because it is not alive unless it has a soul.

It gets me into thinking about robots or Frankenstein. For hundred of years, scientists or quasi scientists have been trying to understand how our body works, especially in regards to its mechanistic system. They discovered that electricity plays a major role in our life; however, it (electricity) plays not only as the “machine” to our body, but also as a regenerative and healing tool. Nevertheless, it is still a theory and I apologize that I do not have the capability to elaborate more on the theory. But, is there any difference between the theory and Frankenstein?

Now, I’m lost. I cannot go back to my topic “dreams,” because I have been talking about the soul and electricity in our body. Yet, the topic “soul” may be interesting to a lot of people.

13 April 2008 at 10:05

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